Representatives from Bairnsdale based pubs and clubs met on Friday to raise their concerns over the mixed messaging with the current COVID restrictions and uncertainty for their sector.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, was invited to the gathering, which was limited by the 10-person restriction.
The operators said the announcement last week that pubs and clubs could open was erroneous for the majority, as the indoor venue limit of 10 that was announced shortly after made it unviable for many to open.
Present at the meeting were representatives from the Bairnsdale Bowls Club, Mitchell River Tavern, Bairnsdale Club, Grand Terminus Hotel and Bairnsdale RSL Sub-Branch.
Mr Bull said the meeting was productive and called on the government to provide more detail to the sector early next week.
“The reality of the situation is that the Government has opened up accommodation for residents of rural and regional Victoria, so pending this does not change, by the weekend we will have an influx of school holiday visitors from other parts of regional Victoria.
“If our accommodation houses will be full, or even close to full, we will struggle to feed them all if the pubs and clubs remain shut, so there needs to be better alignment between opening the accommodation sector with hospitality.”
Mr Bull said those at the meeting said that if they were to open by Saturday to cater for the holiday crowds, the announcement needed to be made by Wednesday.
“Those present made it very clear they cannot have the Premier making announcements one day that they can open the next. They said food must be ordered and staff rosters done, and they need at least two clear days to do this.
“I cannot believe the commentary last week that pubs and clubs can open, but they then announce and indoor venue limit of 10. That was just ridiculous.
“It is inevitable that with cases exploding in Melbourne that it will spread to country regions, but despite this we need some clarity on what is happening for the school holidays.”
Mr Bull said the strong likelihood of cases being recorded in the regions and the fact COVID will be with us ongoing, should not impact on the release of a plan to re-open.
Caption: Representatives of some Bairnsdale Pubs and Clubs invited Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, to a meeting on Friday morning to discuss their frustrations.
Monday, September 13, 2021