Local business community welcomes easing of restrictions, but it’s still tough for many

Stobie’s Mensland proprietor Marcus Stobie says he feels for those businesses doing it tough. File photo

LOCAL business people have welcomed the easing of restrictions, but concede it is still tough for many.
Stobies Mensland, Maffra, proprietor Marcus Stobie described the easing of restrictions as “positive”, but added he felt for may venues which had restricted patron numbers like cinemas, gyms and wedding venues.
“The main concerns are there,” he said.
“It affects your ability to be able to make money.”
He said Melbourne people not being able to visit was also affecting tourism operators, although many did report some if the busiest times they’d had earlier in the year.
“It’s going to be a long winter,” he said.
“It depends on the vaccine rollout and numbers I guess.”
Mr Stobie said last year’s extended lockdown had been a “perfect storm” for businesses with farmers having a record year and many people getting JobKeeper payments which were sometimes in excess of what they would be earning normally.
Other stimulus packages and measures like the instant asset write-off had provided a boost.
“That money’s not in the community any more,” Mr Stobie said.
“Everyone’s got to try and hang in there and make the most of it.”
Sale Business and Tourism Association president Julian McIvor also welcomed the easing of
restrictions.
“Any easing is good,” he said.
“This will get more people in cafés and that sort of thing.
“I know there is a lot of frustration in the business community around all of this.”
While the changes in restriction levels can be difficult to keep up with, Mr McIvor said much of the frustration centred around the onus being on businesses to police restrictions, rather than on individual patrons.
“Staff in cafés are already busy and doing their jobs, and they have to make sure people
are signing in.
“They’re the ones having to police it, instead of the individual,” Mr McIvor said.
He said the situation could be made more difficult for staff by unhappy customers who
did not want to comply.
Mr McIvor said the association would be receiving a $40,000 government grant to help educate local businesses on COVID-related compliance.