Lies force business to shut with fears Melbourne dwellers heading to region

Lies force business to shut with fears Melburnians heading to region

CLOSED: Mardi Lucas said she had been forced to shut her accommodation business at Tawonga South. Picture: TARA TREWHELLA

CLOSED: Mardi Lucas said she had been forced to shut her accommodation business at Tawonga South. Picture: TARA TREWHELLA


I'm tired of fighting and can't do it anymore: owner


A North East Victorian accommodation provider has been forced to close her business as people from coronavirus hotspots attempt to book in.

Mardi Lucas owns the Snow View Holiday Inn at Tawonga South and said up to 70 per cent of people had refused to provide information about where they lived and where they had been.

In one day alone, she cancelled $48,000 worth of bookings.

The business had been 88pc full, which dropped to 60pc when parts of Melbourne locked down, and is now empty while all of Melbourne is in lockdown.

"We're basically shut down until such time that the second wave is under control," Ms Lucas said.

"People have been booking online and you would request further information, want to see driver's licences, names and addresses, and ask where they've been in the last 14 days.

"Some people are fantastic.

"Other people we can't get information from.

"I'm tired of fighting and can't do it anymore."

Government guidelines require information to be gathered on guests to assist with contract tracing.

Melburnians are banned from travelling to regional areas.

For Ms Lucas, the decision to close the lifts at Falls Creek was the final blow.

"After the bushfires and having the town evacuated, and losing all summer revenue, then waking up on March 23 and realising you can't open your pub or holiday accommodation for 10 weeks, I'm tired, I'm fatigued," she said.

"I'm just wondering how many more times we can get knocked down and bounce back up again.

"I don't know."

The accommodation provider had 15 employees which has dropped to just three, with their employment uncertain.

She also runs Settlers Tavern which is losing money.

But Ms Lucas said keeping the virus out of the region was important. The only known case in the wider area was recorded at a Bright nursing home last month.

A resident tested positive, but other residents and staff members at Hawthorn Village returned negative results.

Ms Lucas said it had been an extremely hard decision to shut her accommodation business.

"We don't have COVID-19 here," she said.

"It's up to everyone to make sure we stay COVID-19 safe. "At the start, people would ring and ask if the business was COVID-19 safe. (Now) I need to ask them what they're doing to keep safe."

Ms Lucas said when the government announced the postcode lockdowns, about 10pc of people didn't want to provide their personal details. That has grown to 60 or 70pc.

She said she would still consider allowing Albury-Wodonga residents to stay but believed wider lockdowns may be on the way.

"I've cancelled all my online bookings," she said.

Those from Melbourne who had arrived before the restrictions were put in place are allowed to stay for the duration of their planned visit but can't extend their stay.

Other accommodation providers told The Border Mail that the majority of people booking in had provided their personal details.

But some were concerned fake addresses may have been given.

Businesses have the right to refuse entry to guests and to ask them to leave if they breach restrictions.

Extensive cleaning and preventative measures are being undertaken at holiday accommodation.

There were 273 new cases of the virus recorded in Victoria on Sunday from 30,195 tests and a man in his 70s died.

"Arguably there is nothing more important than coming forward if you've got even mild symptoms," Premier Daniel Andrews said.


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