Lockdown waiting game


By Jessica Micallef

By Jessica Micallef

Sunbury and Macedon Ranges residents are eagerly waiting to find out if Victoria will be released from a five-day stage four lockdown tomorrow night.

The state was plunged into a “circuit breaker” lockdown on Friday night in response to an outbreak that stemmed from Melbourne Airport’s Holiday Inn.

On Monday, Victoria recorded one locally acquired case of COVID-19 and one case in hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of active cases to 21.

Sunbury Business Association president Michael Osborne said the latest lockdown was another blow for businesses, with non-essential retail closed and restaurants limited to takeaway.

“Some businesses were just starting to hit their stride again and most small businesses cannot afford to be closed down for any given time,” he said.

“There has also been a degree of caution for obvious reasons, people are wanting to avoid those areas so there has been a little bit of hesitancy.

“But the Sunbury and business community have handled it pretty well and are doing the right thing in getting tested. It’s an inconvenience but we’ve realised that the sooner we do this, the sooner we get back to some sort of normalcy.”

Vic Scerri, who owns Sunbury’s Vic’s Food and Wine, said the latest shut down had left him $20,000 out-of-pocket.

He said Valentine’s Day was his restaurant’s third busiest day of the year after Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

“This is absolutely horrendous,” he said.

“People were already calling to cancel because of the Sunbury [COVID outbreak] scare.”

Mr Scerri said staff morale was low.

“The government is saying it’s [the lockdown] going to only be five days but anything can happen. It could for a week, it could go on for longer.”

The lockdown came as Sunbury shoppers were put on high alert last week after a food and beverage hotel quarantine worker at Melbourne Airport’s Holiday Inn visited several sites in the community on February 5 and 6 while infected with COVID-19.

On Sunday, Health Minister Martin Foley announced that the state had more than tripled its testing capacity, with public laboratories capable of processing about 30,000 tests per day.

Testing is available at Sunbury Community Hospital, 9 Timins Street, Sunbury, and the Old Masters site on the coroner of Vineyard and McDougall roads, Sunbury. Testing is also available by appointment at Kyneton Health, Caroline Chisholm Drive, Kyneton.