The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath is calling on the Andrews Government to allow winery cellar doors to reopen ahead of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
“Gippsland businesses have suffered enough during 2020 with tourist operators and the hospitality industry suffering blow upon blow to their bottom line,” said Ms Bath.
“It is important that wineries are able to maximise their economic recovery following devastating bushfires and COVID-19.
“Cellar doors tastings and sales are a vital part of Gippsland’s tourism economy, favoured amongst day and overnight visitors.
“The June long weekend will be an important weekend which will help reinvigorate Gippsland wine sales and help our local tourism industry.”
The Andrews Government decision, means wineries which offer cellar door sales must remain closed as a result of restrictions, which also prevent businesses like pubs and clubs from selling alcohol without meals.
Ms Bath said the decision makes no sense when we are trying to support small business and kick start the Victorian economy which is fighting a serious uphill battle.
“Gippsland wineries are one of the many business that have suffered the triple whammy wack to operations”, said Ms Bath.
“With drought, summer bushfires and now COVID-19 our local wineries have been struggling.
“A fall in restaurant sales means wineries are more reliant than ever on what sales they can generate through their cellar door service,” said Ms Bath.
“Gippsland is home to an amazing array of boutique wineries, so with physical distancing in place there is no reason why they should not be able open and offer wine sales and tastings as part of their cellar door service.
“If Daniel Andrews says it’s ok for people to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee, then they should also be ok for people to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine at the cellar door too.”