Gippsland businesses frustrated over COVID ban

Frustrated Gippsland businesses are demanding answers from the Andrews Labor Government after again being shut down with little explanation as to their level of COVID risk.

Gippsland Nationals MPs are also campaigning for rules to be relaxed in Gippsland where there are no cases and have never been any exposure sites.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath and Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien today met with Gippsland dance studio owners who are devastated at having been shut down again.

Ms Bath said businesses such as dance studios, gyms, indoor swimming schools and the hospitality sector where being penalised with little explanation as to why and massive inconsistencies in the Government’s reasoning.

“This is Victoria’s fourth lockdown and each time Labor shuts down our regional small businesses the rules seem to be different.

“The Government says restrictions are made on scientific health advice, but it won’t release this advice, or any scientific data used behind its restrictions decision-making.

“For example, it makes no sense that young people can attend school and mingle freely, and yet cannot attend a dance studio which has implemented COVID Safe protocols.

“The Government doesn’t seem to understand that throwing taxpayers money at these businesses is neither enough nor a solution – they should be allowed to operate.”

Mr O’Brien said with no cases in Gippsland since January and a very low risk of spread from Melbourne, it was hard to understand why these businesses, including hospitality, could not operate as normal.

“It seems it’s fine that a union-led construction site can operate as normal, but our pubs, restaurants and cafes are limited to 50 patrons no matter how many separate rooms or how big their facility is.

“This lockdown mentality has to end for the benefit of our local businesses as well as the mental health of all Gippslanders.”