• Jack Ward

Businesses hit again

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.


BUSINESSES have been left to pick up the pieces following this week’s snap lockdown, losing tens of thousands of dollars.

PHOTO: Caravan park owner, Samantha Rickinson, is frustrated with what she calls a “complete overreaction.” (Jack Ward/Ararat Advocate)

Bookings at accommodation providers, eateries and tourist attractions were scrapped just hours before last weekend began.


G’Day Parks Ararat owner, Samantha Rickinson, said she is astounded by the incompetence shown by the Victorian Premier.


Her caravan park took cancellation after cancellation last Friday from visitors who had fully booked the park out on Friday and Saturday.


“Absolute chaos that afternoon and ridiculous really, just incompetence of the highest level as far as I'm concerned,” she said.


“And to find out there's been no community transmission other than close contacts shows it's a complete overreaction.”


Ms Rickinson said the changing restrictions and sudden lockdowns are taking a toll on the mental health of business owners.


“It's hugely stressful because you've just got the phone ringing, people cancelling and you're back in the position you were in four or five months ago. It's just all over again,” she said.


“I just don't know how businesses can keep absorbing it. You just don't want to operate your business, you just want to sell and get out and move to New South Wales.”


Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged additional support for businesses, but no announcement was made on Wednesday when lockdown was eased.


"We've always had a willingness to provide that support where it's needed," he said earlier in the week.


"But it does take a little bit of time to assess the challenge ... and once we're ready to make those announcements, we will."


Chalambar Golf Club is also feeling the pinch. Manager, Bonaventure Tai, said they have lost a considerable amount of money from not having diners eat in.


“If we were looking at, financially, our losses, over the last five days… it would be anything ranging between $20-22k,” he said.


“But we're not disadvantaged in any shape or form. We've been quite lucky that we've had some solid trades over December, January to keep us afloat.”


Owner of The Rex, Hayden Crawford, has been ineligible for any government support because his new business has not met the requirements.


Mr Crawford was gutted when the news came through last Friday.


“We were in a good position but obviously everything got canned yet again. We were just starting to build, and things were starting to come to some normality, and yet again ripped down,” he said.


“We didn't want this to happen again, but it did obviously, so we've just got to deal with it. But it's all on your own back and it's hard.”


All three businesses have been relieved by the end of lockdown, fearing the consequences of a possible extension and further loss of profits.

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