INSIDE THIS EDITION…
GRAFFITI RACISM WORRY, PAGE 3
4 - 17 JUNE, 2021
BELLARINE’S NUMBER ONE NEWSPAPER
Matt Taylor, Kristy Williams, Nathan Williams, Brayden Pryor, Amy Peace and Hayden Telehin. (Ivan Kemp)
Top of the bakers Rolling Pin Pies & Cakes has done it again. The Ocean Grove bakery hauled in six gold medals, eight silver medals and was the overall winner of the country’s top pie at the Baking Association of Australia’s national best pie competition. ■ Full story: Page 5
COVID business pain By Justin Flynn Hospitality venues across the Bellarine Peninsula have been left devastated by the state government’s latest COVID-19 restrictions. Cafes and restaurants were forced to close their doors to dine-in patrons for a full week and now face another week of restrictions, with a patron cap of 50 and density limit of one person per four square metres. Lyndsay Sharp from The Sharp Group, which operates Flying Brick Cider Co, Leura Park Estate, Jack Rabbit, Curlewis Golf Club and Yes Said the Seal, said the lockdown had been “both huge and devastating”.
“After 2020, we were just catching up and now we’re back to square one,” she said. “Pivoting to do takeaway during the seven days wasn’t a viable option for us, some things you can’t just switch on and off like a tap. “There is a general vibe of mental depletion and a rising tide of anxiety about what the future holds because there is no safety net in sight. “Although everyone is keen to get back to work and deliver great patron experiences, this lockdown has further drained morale within the hospitality industry, there’s no getting away from that.” Ms Sharp said a patron cap of 50 was not suitable for most of her venues because they are
larger than a typical cafe. “While we welcome the fact we can reopen, we are essentially only doing so to get our great teams and in particular, our casuals, back to work so they can recalibrate with financial security to put food on their tables, pay rent, mortgages and other overheads,” she said. Ocean Grove’s Driftwood Cafe owner Ty Simons said the lockdown had a “massive impact”. “Takings are down about 80 per cent,” he said. “However our wages bill, as we have lots of full-time and permanent staff, is still huge. This week has cost us money to open the doors, even with a little hand-out from the state government.
“Without JobKeeper or any help from the federal government there is no safety net. Any gains we made over a bumper summer are now being whittled away.” Mr Simons said the new restrictions meant Driftwood could only operate at 25 per cent capacity. “Our hope is that patrons respect this lack of available seating and ensure they eat, no coffees only, and only linger for an hour for lunch and breakfast,” he said. “It looks like Melburnians are not going to be welcome in regional Victoria for the Queen’s Birthday weekend either, another blow to local tourism.”
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