THERE’S a massive adjustment going on right across the region in response to the 1pm announcement today, Friday, February 12 by Premier Daniel Andrews of a state-wide lockdown for the whole of Victoria.
Everything closes down from 11.59pm tonight and while administrators of weekend sports have made a mad scramble to advise players and officials, it’s been in the hard-hit hotel, restaurant and café sector that the hammer of a five-day shutdown has fallen hardest.
At the Wonthaggi Club for example, where they were gearing up for a big Valentines’ Day celebration on Sunday, February 14, one of the first jobs for catering staff on Friday afternoon was to phone more than 50 people who had booked tables for the special Valentines’ Day event that it was cancelled.
Like all hospitality venues, they’ll be reduced to takeaway service from midnight tonight (Friday).
“We’re in the process of calling all those people now,” said Wonthaggi Club Manager Steve Curtis.
“We’re obviously open for food and beverages tonight but then we revert to takeaways for the next five days.”
Mr Curtis said the club’s fridges were full of fresh produce in expectation of a bumper weekend, especially with the Valentines’ Day celebrations but at least some of that was likely to go to waste unless it was eaten by sit down diners tonight or over the next few days as takaways.
“We’d certainly welcome people calling us and ordering to dine-in at home over the next few days. If not there will be a lot of food going to waste.”
Mr Curtis said the club was also in the process of a major rejigging of the staff roster in anticipation of no dinging or bar service after Friday night.
“We’d just like to thank our staff and also the community for their continued support in these challenging times and hope they continue to support us as we get through this latest situation.”
General Manager of destination Phillip Island Kim Storey said the announcement of a five-day shutdown was especially difficult for the association’s hospitality members.
“Everyone is just coming to terms with it now. We’ve seen the posts go up on individual Facebook pages encouraging the community to order in their takeaway this weekend, and next week, to again help them through this,” Ms Storey said.
“Everyone has had to cancel their Valentines’ Day bookings and adjust as best they can.
“So, there will be food service for diners tonight (Friday) but then we are urging members of the community to check out their favourite venue’s Facebook page and see if they can order in some food over the days that follow.
“It would be a huge help, especially as most of them already have all of their supplies in.”
It’s not just the next five days that have been impacted either, according to Ms Storey.
“The major motorsports event scheduled for the Phillip Island Grand Prix Track, on February 18-21 has also been postponed because they can’t get in and set it up for next week.”
Penguins take a holiday
The penguin parade is also off after Friday night.
Phillip Island Nature Parks has issued the following statement:
“Following the Premier’s announcement that Stage 4 restrictions will be enacted from 11.59pm tonight to 11.59pm on Wednesday to protect our community from the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Nature Parks will be closing its visitor attractions for that 5 day period.
“We are contacting all ticketholders with bookings during that period to provide full refunds, and we thank them for their patience as we process these.
“We look forward to working together to continue to keep Victoria safe, and welcoming visitors back when it’s safe to do so.
Come back again
The region’s hottest music venue, the Archies Creek Hotel has also been hit hard.
They’ve had to cancel a sold-out performance by Ross Wilson and the Peaceniks on Sunday night, February 14 and also a heavily subscribed night on Saturday with The Cartridge Family.
Tonight’s Trulli Pizza and music night with local outfit the Sand Brothers will go ahead.