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Response to Premier's Announcement of Third Lockdown

 

12 February 2021

 

Today’s announcement by the Premier of a third lockdown is a devastating blow to Victorian communities and businesses, including those on the Mornington Peninsula.

 

The Committee for Mornington Peninsula acknowledges the health risk to those Melbournians who are currently infected with the UK-strain of COVID-19.

 

The Committee acknowledges the mental health impacts and financial strain that this directive places on Victorians now facing further isolation, interrupted trading and cancelled plans.

 

Committee for Mornington Peninsula Executive Officer Briony Hutton said, “This third lockdown will be another setback for Mornington Peninsula businesses that are just now catching up with trade after last year’s 111-day lockdown, which saw so many local businesses go backward or out of business.”

 

“Our local retail, hospitality, tourism, weddings and events industries will once again be forced to halt trade over a bumper Valentine’s Day weekend, which would ordinarily see Mornington Peninsula shops, restaurants and wineries full,” Ms Hutton said.

 

Members of the Committee for Mornington Peninsula have expressed their concern about the impacts that today’s announcement will have on their businesses, including Greg O’Donoghue, owner of popular hospitality venue, Green Olive at Red Hill.

 

“This weekend being Valentine’s Day and the re-launch of all our food and wine experiences at the farm has been completely wiped out with less than ten hours’ notice. Again we lay off all our staff until further notice, apologise to customers, throw away food and take yet again a significant financial hit,” Mr O’Donoghue said.

 

Another Mornington Peninsula trader expressed their disappointment in having $25,000 of food in their cool room, ready for the Valentine’s Day weekend of events, now all cancelled.

 

Last year, the Mornington Peninsula was included in the metropolitan Melbourne lockdown, despite having no active cases at the time, which effectively halted the tourism and hospitality sectors, which are so crucial to our local economy.

 

The extended lockdown also saw a prolonged escalation of poor mental health outcomes, particularly among young people, and disproportionate job losses on the Peninsula.

 

According to a survey conducted by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, 44 per cent of local businesses lost at least 50 per cent of their revenue in 2020, 23 per cent had lost at least half of their staff and 5,900 jobs were lost.

The Committee for Mornington Peninsula is hopeful that the Victorian Government’s hotel quarantine and contact-tracing systems are up to the task of managing this outbreak of the UK-variant, so that this five-day lockdown doesn’t morph into another extended lockdown period.

 

“The Committee for Mornington Peninsula hopes that this lockdown will be the “short and sharp circuit-breaker” that it was announced to be, so that local businesses can get back on the road to recovery for Labour Day long-weekend and Easter holiday trading, and families and friends can be reunited,” Ms Hutton said.

 

The Committee notes the Premier’s comments today that if the lockdown were to last longer than the announced five days, the Victorian Government would once again separate metropolitan Melbourne from regional Victoria.

 

“Should the lockdown be extended, the Committee’s continuing position will be for the Mornington Peninsula to be classified as regional for the purposes of public health orders, provided that there are no local outbreaks of COVID-19,” Ms Hutton said.

 

The Committee notes that at this stage, there are no reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Mornington Peninsula.


 

Media Contact

 

Briony Hutton | 0468 308 696 | briony@committeeformp.com.au