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‘Mind-boggling’: Victorians’ heartbreak over lockdown lift delay

Anastasia Santoreneos
·4-min read
Victorians reveal heartbreak over lockdown lift delay. Source: Getty
Victorians reveal heartbreak over lockdown lift delay. Source: Getty

Victorian business owners have revealed their heartbreak over the Premier’s decision to delay lifting lockdown restrictions as the state records zero new coronavirus cases, saying while restrictions have done their job, it’s now “senseless” to keep Melbournians at home.

Victoria has recorded zero new coronavirus cases and zero deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing Metropolitan Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average down to 3.6.

Across Victoria, residents are now celebrating “donut day,” tweeting photos of themselves eating a donut, representing the milestone.

“Happy donut day to everyone in Victoria today. It’s been a hard slog, and devastating on so many levels for ALL of us.”

But the milestone comes as NSW records one new local case and three new overseas acquired cases.

But the lives of NSW residents are virtually back to normal, while Victorian residents are still facing a staged reopening from 2 November.

Yahoo Finance spoke to business owners across the state of Victoria, who say while the financial impact of the restrictions has been major, the mental impact is equally as big.

‘Time to reinvent’

Judy Sahey, founder and managing director of CROWD media group based in Victoria, said the restrictions have had “great consequences” for her clients, who mainly operate in the events and travel industries.

“This [lockdown] has affected our business greatly – loss in market share, loss in revenue, down in profit - but it has greatly impacted all our clients who are struggling to stay afloat,” Sahey said.

But she said there’s no point staying negative; rather, it’s a good opportunity to reinvent her business.

“We have been impacted financially. We’ve lost over 45 per cent revenue during the lockdown periods, but the sentiment is still optimistic, because as an entrepreneur that's all the focus is on – how quickly can we pivot, re-innovate and move forward?”

‘Messaging is mind-boggling’

Golding Hills Brewery, a brand new craft brewery in Diamond Creek, was forced to shut just one week after it opened due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“We had just trained all our staff, then had to let them go,” a spokesperson said. “We have to rely on takeaway and delivery of beer and food. The effect has been mind-boggling.”

‘Arbitrary and senseless’

Founder and chief executive of Jim’s Mowing, Jim Penman, has been vocal about the Premier’s Covid-19 restrictions since the beginning, but told Yahoo Finance that Daniel Andrews’ delay was a political move.

“This has nothing to do with health,” Penman said.

“I’m not saying that we should go whole hog and everybody [should] start rushing to have giant parties, but we need sensible restrictions.

“There’s not even a pretence of being fair and reasonable...we’re talking about stupid, arbitrary and senseless restrictions, which have no relation to public health whatsoever.”

‘Members are desperate’

Gyms and fitness clubs have been hugely impacted by the lockdown, and say the lack of clarity around reopening dates is a major concern for not just the industry, but the wider community.

“We’re getting daily emails and phone calls from members, who are desperate to return,” said CEO of Genesis Health + Fitness Ian Jensen-Muir.

Members are wanting to get back to the gym to access the specialty equipment and fitness classes as well as the social interaction gyms provide, Jensen-Muir said.

“They’re very vocal in letting us know that not being able to attend a gym has impacted their overall health immensely,” he added.

“The longer this drags on, the more our concern grows for what it means for the wellbeing of Victorians.”

‘Unprecedented headache’

Home maintenance and construction company Universal Tradesman chief Mick Simpson said the amount of work he gets directly correlates with Andrews’ press conferences.

“Every time Daniel Andrews opens his mouth, it radically changes the amount of leads we are able to generate,” Simpson said.

“When he gave the green light for works to be done in peoples houses, we were inundated with people that had a backlog of work to get done. Then, after he pulled a swifty despite reaching his goal...our phones went dead again.

“The inconsistency in our lives is bringing an unprecedented amount of headache in our lives.”

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