GIPPSLAND MHR Darren Chester is encouraging Gippslanders to support local businesses as many begin reopening their doors after the coronavirus shutdown.
From Monday, Gippsland restaurants and cafés have been able to serve a limited number of customers in their dining areas, and overnight stays away from home are allowed.
Personal service businesses, like beauty salons, have also resumed trading.
Mr Chester said this was welcome news for business owners and customers across Gippsland.
“Gippsland’s hospitality and tourism sector has had an extremely difficult time since the summer bushfires,” he said.
“Other states have moved faster to allow businesses to recommence trading, but I hope this staged relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions will support local jobs.
“Our local traders have shown resilience and adaptability over the past few months and found innovative ways to continue serving their customers – and those customers have shown their loyalty by embracing those changes.
“In a stressful and uncertain time, we have worked together, and I want to encourage Gippslanders to continue supporting local jobs by shopping locally, hiring a local tradie or taking a break in our region.
“From Monday, you can stay overnight away from home so it’s a chance to explore our region – head to the coast, the lakes or to the High Country, or have a day out doing whatever it is that you love to do in Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley.
“The way to help our region get back on its feet is to spend some money and support local businesses, particularly those unable to trade since March.
“I have been particularly heartened to hear how some businesses have used the forced closure as an opportunity to train their staff or undertake improvements that couldn’t be done during normal trade.
“These businesses are investing in our people and our community, and deserve our support in return.”