Snowy Mountains businesses relying on Canberrans to fill spots vacated by Sydneysiders unable to visit the ski slopes due to lockdown restrictions, say this winter’s trade is melting before their eyes.
- The ACT lockdown prompts cancellations to NSW tourism destinations, hurting businesses
- The lockdown comes after the territory recorded its first positive COVID-19 cases in over a year
- Canberrans and NSW residents who have visited the ACT since August 5 are urged to follow health advice
As the ACT enters its first full day of seven days of stay-at-home orders, some NSW businesses fear this latest lockdown blow might be too much for smaller operators to weather.
“It’s another stake through the heart,” Banjo Paterson Inn co-owner Cameron McKid said.
“I’ll be surprised to know whether the resorts just decide to pack up shop for the season.”
Mr McKid’s Jindabyne business has 40 rooms and about 90 per cent of bookings for this weekend were made by people who live in the ACT.
But he considers himself one of the luckier business operators because he opens year-round, unlike some other shops and venues that rely on the 16 weeks of winter trade.
“I’m lucky enough to be in a business that can cope with this for a while,” he said.
NSW Health says anyone in NSW who was in the ACT after 12:01am on Thursday, August 5, must adhere to the lockdown rules and isolate for 14 days from the date they were in the territory.
If a person entered NSW on or after 5:00pm on Thursday, August 12, and was in the ACT within the previous 14 days, they must complete the NSW entry declaration form.
Director of medical services for the Southern NSW Local Health District Liz Mullins said the rules also applied to any Canberrans who travelled from the ACT to South East NSW.
“I understand the roads were very busy yesterday coming down here and heading towards Batemans Bay,” Dr Mullins said.
“And therefore, you are obliged to maintain that stay-at-home order.”
Coastline feeling the pinch
Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce president Matthew Hatcher says the lockdown will have an immediate impact.
“Especially for some of the smaller towns like Mogo — they really rely on that trade coming down and visiting to keep the doors open.”
Australian Tourism Export Council managing director Peter Shelley said the inconsistent lockdowns were really hurting small businesses, and he feared some would not be able to bounce back.
“One of the significant downsides we’re trying to protect against is losing quality staff from our industry because that’s going to be really hard to get back once everything is back to normal.”