HEY, it’s not just the big guys who are impacted by this.

The shock, new COVID-19 restrictions, stopping tradesmen from travelling between metro Melbourne and country areas, is also hitting small-scale builders as well.

Take Ben Weir of Weir Building Solutions based in the Yarra Ranges Shire, at Macclesfield, bordering on West Gippsland, for example.

Most of his work is in the neighbouring Cardinia, Casey and Baw Baw LGAs but he’s always had a healthy book of jobs in Bass Coast as well.

“We do a lot of work in the Warragul, Drouin to Berwick area but also down here in Bass Coast.

“I was supposed to start another job in San Remo next week,” said Ben.

He and his crew were still coming to terms with the shock announcement by the Premier Daniel Andrews last Thursday morning, September 17 as they packed up their site in the Silverleaves’ area of Cowes.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” he said in answer to the obvious question.

“I’ve got three houses on the go on Phillip Island at the moment and one supposed to start next week.

“It’s a pretty tough situation.

“Most of our blokes travel down but we do use local trades and supplies as well.

“I don’t know how it’s going to work. Most of our jobs are in the neighbouring shires.”

And it’s not just the small, out-of-area builders, local contractors say they also rely on specialist trades from Melbourne, people who supply services not readily available locally.

The decision to stop trades people crossing the borders into regional Victoria is an easy thing to say but will have wide implications for much-needed housing projects and critical work like the construction of the $100 million Wonthaggi hospital.

Here’s what the State Government said on Thursday, September 17:

“In light of the cases seeding from Melbourne into regional Victoria, construction workers will now not be able to cross the metropolitan-regional boundary for work.

“Tea rooms will need to close and food or drink will not be able to be consumed indoors at work.

“Worker shift bubbles must be in practice and all sites will require a COVIDSafe Marshal on site.”

The government has also said that construction workers must have at least one jab of a COVID vaccination by this coming Thursday, September 23 or they cannot work.

“Construction workers can also access priority booking (phone 1800 675 398) and can walk-up without a booking for Pfizer or AZ at several sites in metro areas including the old Ford Factory in Campbellfield, the former Bunnings in Melton West, Eagle Stadium in Werribee and the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.

Victorians can book their vaccination appointment at a state-run centre by visiting portal.cvms.vic.gov.au or by phoning the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.