Orbost slammed shut

Orbost slammed shut

Orbost resembled a ghost town this week as businesses were forced to either shut up shop or operate at reduced capacity.
“It’s dead in the main street,” Julie Leatham, from Café One2Five told the Snowy River Mail on Monday.
“I think I might be the only café’ open today,” she said.
Ms Leatham described trade on Friday and Saturday as “shocking”.
“We ran at a loss over the weekend.”
Café One2Five is continuing to crank out its full menu for takeaway trade.
Breakfast, lunches and the usual daily specials are being packaged into foil containers.
“Because customers aren’t allowed inside, it’s takeaway,” Ms Leatham said.
“We’re coping because we have no choice. Fortunately, our regular customers are dropping by for takeaway coffees, so we’re still getting their trade,” she said.
Chooky’s Roost was also continuing to trade with takeaway orders being phoned in.
“It’s been very, very slow”, Jet Mull said.
“We’ve had to cut the hours a bit for our staff, so that’s where we’re at at the moment.”
“Winter is usually a bit quiet anyway, but we’re hoping this lockdown will only last until Thursday because it’s better for the town if everything is open,” Ms Mull said.
Brian Harrison from Orbost Home and Hardware said his business was offering customers curbside collection with click and collect.
“People are coming on board with that. Some people will stand at the door and ring us,” Mr Harrison said.
“We’re still operating out the back for trade customers, but at a reduced capacity.
“I suppose we’re probably a lot luckier than most,” he said.
Mr Harrison remains surprised that a statewide lockdown was instigated.
“I thought we could have managed with a ring of steel,” he said.
“We’re certainly hopeful it won’t extend past Thursday. Winter in Orbost is tough enough without locking retail away.”
The owner of Hof Design boutique, an upmarket clothing store, has decided to shut her doors for good.
Veronique Stevenson said with winter approaching and the Indian variant of the virus posing a risk she made the decision a couple of weeks ago to shut up shop and trade online.
“I’m running the business from home because I can’t afford to have one more lockdown,” she told the Snowy.
Ms Stevenson, who was critical of the last extended Victorian lockdown, said she read the writing on the wall and knew further closures were inevitable.
“I could sense another lockdown, especially with winter approaching.”
“You have to wonder if this government (Victorian) is wilfully destroying businesses,” she said.
“There’s no reason to be locked down in Gippsland, why are we locked down again, there’s no evidence of human to human transmission here,” Ms Stevenson queried.
“I’ve had to think outside the square to survive with all these lockdowns.”
“I’m lucky I can do it from home,” Ms Stevenson said, who now plans to rent out her building in Orbost’s main street.
Sharon Kurrle, from the Orbost newsagency described the weekend as quiet with the café inside the premises also closed.
“I’m angry about it, like all businesses. It’s hard work operating like this, it’s unfortunate,” she said.
Mrs Kurrle said she was hopeful the lockdown wouldn’t surpass seven days.
“If it does, I’ll have to look at cutting back casual staff hours,” she said.
The owner of the Orbost Club Hotel, Tim Behan, slammed his doors shut at midnight last Thursday but is hoping the lockdown won’t extend past the scheduled seven days.
He anticipates losing $20,000 by remaining closed for the week.
“It’s disappointing isn’t it, we haven’t had cases out of here and, where are our vaccinations centres?, there’s none here.” Mr Behan said.

IMAGE: Orbost’s main street was eerily quiet yesterday morning with lockdown restrictions across the state.


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