Abuse from city visitors doing the wrong thing

Josh Farrell

While many local business are back trading, they are now facing the fresh challenges of tight restrictions, including having to turn away Melburnians who attempt to enter stores.

Jack Ryan’s Irish Bar, Sale, manager Will Brady said turning away Melburnians had become a part of the job.

“Last time when we opened up I reckon we were getting probably close to two groups of people every day trying to come in,” he said.

“It wasn’t just workers, but it was families.”

He said often when staff turned away families they would be verbally abused, estimating about three times a week they would receive a “good ear bashing”.

But he said following COVID procedures was all a part of the job, and staff routinely checked IDs and made sure customers scanned the QR code.

Although the hotel is open, Mr Brady doesn’t think it is worth it financially.

“The restrictions don’t let you operate in any meaningful kind of way,” he said.

“It’s more of a service we are just trying to provide … it’s better for everyone’s (staff’s especially) mental health to be open — so I am just trying to take that approach,” he said.

The restaurant is effectively booked out days ahead, save for a few single bookings here and there.

The owner of Sale’s Town Square Boutique, Debbie Clancy, is excited to be back open to the public, instead of only being able to offer a click and collect service.

“We are very fortunate that people are so supportive in this town,” she said.

“I think this lockdown has been very difficult on business owners and people.”

Ms Clancy has not faced the same challenges as some other businesses when managing customers from Melbourne.

“The majority of people that I’ve seen have been locals — we haven’t had the need [to check IDs].

“People are good with the QR coding and wearing their mask,” she said.