Regional restriction rollback receives relieved reception

Kaleb Wilton, 14, was able to get in some practice at Stratford's new pump track during lockdown, but is now happy to be returning to school. Photo: Liz Bell

Liz Bell

NEWS of restrictions being eased for regional Victorians was being celebrated locally on Wednesday, although not without caution.
Stratford mum Jo Wilton took her brood to Stratford pump park on Wednesday to enjoy the beautiful weather and said that despite a lovely week at home her three children — two in primary school and one at high school — were itching to get back to school.
“I think the kids have had enough of being at home after all these lockdowns, so we are all relieved it’s over for us up here at least,” she said.
Although pleased, Mrs Wilton said the restrictions in Melbourne were likely to have a negative effect on regional real estate, as more and more Melburnians made the decision to escape to the
country.
“The price of rents and properties to buy is so ridiculous now that so many people can’t get a foot in the door,” she said.
“I think this locking Melbourne up is just going to make people want to move to the regional areas even more, and that will exacerbate the problem.
“There are virtually no rentals for people up here who need them, and house prices just keep going up and up.”
Avon Hotel licensee Terry Watts, who hasn’t opened the hotel all week apart from the bottle shop, said it made sense to free up regional Victorians.
“We didn’t have time to organise all the requirements of staying open when it was announced last week, so very glad they’ve come to their senses and eased restrictions for us,” he said.
Wa De Lock Cellar Door staff have put on brave faces to get through the week and will be glad to welcome back dine in customers, albeit it with reduced numbers and strict customer record keeping.
The popular café has been offering takeaway through lockdown, but staff member Caz Collins said it would be good to see people enjoying the opportunity to get out again.