Regional Victorian businesses are urging their customers to venture out now that they have the freedom to do so.
- Dan Krusic says ockdown fatigue and an emerging culture of lethargy is driving his business into the ground
- The dirt bike park owner has issued a “use it or lose it” plea on social media
- Mr Krusic says dirt bike riding is a sport that is inherently low-risk when it comes to COVID-19
Many Gippsland business owners are reporting a lack of consumer drive after repeated lockdowns has been adding to their financial and mental strain and leaving them with few incentives to stay open.
Dan Krusic, of Krusic’s Ride Park, a motocross facility for dirt bike enthusiasts, posted a heartfelt plea on social media to the sport’s community.
“Our business has been greatly impacted by COVID — the funding is not there being sole traders,” Mr Krusic said.
‘Ready to shut the gates’
With the cost of maintaining five dirt bike tracks and the grounds in excess of $3,000 per week, Mr Krusic said he needed a critical mass of riders every week to keep his facility operational.
Mr Krusic compared maintaining the open air courses to maintaining the slopes of a ski resort.
Natural debris needs to be cleared and surfaces that become overgrown, tight or waterlogged need constant grading with specialised equipment to remain safe and accessible.
But with recent floods caused road closures in the area and inundating the park, as well as subsequent lockdowns, opening up is getting harder.
“I was ready to shut the gates the other day because things just get too much for us,” he said.
Couch potato culture?
As Victoria emerged from a sixth lockdown, Mr Krusic noticed an emerging culture of couch-bound lethargy.
“Once the momentum stops within the community it would take us two to three weeks to build up again after a lockdown,” he said.
He attributes this growing “stay at home on the weekend” attitude to confusion over restrictions, fatigue with homeschooling and the inconvenience of safety protocols.
“To actually get off your bum and do a sport or take your kids somewhere takes effort, and I’ve just found everybody’s lost their drive,” Mr Kusic said.
Blanket approach stifling
Mr Krusic is calling for people to support tourism and recreational businesses and that he fears the closure of his park could lead to illegal riding in national parks.
“The drama with this place is that you can’t do takeaway,” he said.
“We have no way of making and income out of the place.”
The cap of 10 people per session implemented in the first two Victorian lockdowns provided some income relief, but Mr Krusic said the blanket approach to lockdowns put relatively low-risk, low-density businesses like his in the same basket as crowded inner-Melbourne supermarkets.
“The difference here is that we already social distance,” he said.
“When you pull up on your motorbike you don’t pull up a metre next to the guy next you — you pull up a couple of metres away.