THE day dawned in Cowes on Phillip Island this morning with a long queue of cars already lined up at the drive-through testing centre in Church Street and the supermarkets reopened after completing deep cleaning yesterday and overnight.
But few other business premises were open in the main street between lockdown and the number of those caught up in the exposure site restrictions.
The popular coffee café G’day Tiger in Thompson Avenue hadn’t reopened after being slapped with a Tier 2 designation on Friday, for anyone who stood out on the footpath out front on Tuesday, July 13 between the hours of 9.16am and 10.24am, to get their morning coffee.
But you could still get a coffee at the Mad Cows caravan on The Esplanade this morning.
It’s a devastating situation according to local businessman Greg Price of Alex Scott and Staff but one that was entirely predictable.
“We’ve all been affected by this of course and a lot of businesses are going to struggle coming out of it too with staff off work for two weeks if they’ve attended a Tier 1 site in the past week,” Mr Price said.
“But the reality is, being a popular tourist location, that we’ve been living with this threat for 18 months and it’s extremely lucky, if you look at it one way, that we haven’t been hit with this before.”
Mr Price said it was almost certain that dozens of COVID-positive visitors had come to the Island in the past 18 months and business had dodged a bullet then.
“It will be incredibly fortunate if we can come out of this with no cases or only a couple of local cases but you’ve got to hope we might still come through this as we’ve almost certainly done before.
“The problem is the Delta strain, which they say is much more contagious.”
Locally, people started to receive their test results overnight after almost 1000 were tested yesterday at Cowes, San Remo and Wonthaggi, and so far, without reports of further positives.
For some people, it is five and six days since they may have been exposed to the COVID-positive visitors from Melbourne’s north-west, so you’d expect the virus to be showing up by now but it will be well into the week before we know what the ultimate fallout will be.
Lucky or unlucky?
As one of the nation’s top tourism destinations, away from the tropics, it was probably inevitable there would be a positive scare on the island eventually… only time will tell if it becomes a serious outbreak.