An precedented move to force communities to adhere to social distancing and curb the spread of Coronavirus was put in place at midday yesterday, forcing the closure of certain businesses.
Described as only stage one of the response to the growing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian could not guarantee the closures would not extend to other business types if the situation worsens.
The move is expected to have a significant economic impact across the entire country.
Deniliquin Business Chamber president Paula Rutter said while some business sectors will take a big hit, and the economy as a whole, she stressed that some businesses can continue to operate unchanged.
She also said some businesses subjected to the lockdown may also be able to continue trading in a limited capacity.
The restricted facilities include:
●thPubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation);
●thGyms and indoor sporting venues
●thCinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs.
●thRestaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
●thReligious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the one person per 4msup2 rule applies).
The directive does not apply to supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery.
While the Deniliquin RSL Club declined to comment on the directive yesterday, messages were sent to club members about 1.30pm advising the club would be closed until government legislation allows for it to be reopened.
Deniliquin Golf Club manager Norm Purtill said while its clubhouse would also be closed, the club is still able to keep its golf course open.
‘‘We will be operating from the golf shop to allow the course to remain open, but we will be limiting the number of people allowed in at any one time,’’ Mr Purtill said.
‘‘We are one of the luckiest given that most of our facilities are outside and subject to a 500 person limit. People can still come down to get some exercise and enjoy some golf.’’
Mr Purtill said it was not too long ago the Deniliquin Golf Club was at risk of closure due to financial woes, and he said this Coronavirus setback will impact on the hard work to bring the club back in to profit since then.
‘‘This is a busy time for the club, and we’ve had weddings and other functions being cancelled. It will put us behind the eight ball again.
‘‘We have had a number of good years and we may have to use some of our reserves during this time.
‘‘We also have a council grant to do some upgrades at the club that we need to contribute some funding to ourselves, so things will be tough.
‘‘But even still, everyone is trying to remain positive and the main this is that everyone is healthy.’’
Mrs Rutter said the important message now is to support businesses who can continue to operate, to keep the economy afloat as much as possible.
‘‘‘It doesn’t mean everyone has to close their doors, we are not at that point, but we need to avoid gatherings at businesses,” Mrs Rutter said.
‘‘One of the reasons this came about was because the social distancing directives are not being taken as seriously as they need to be.
‘‘It is about the safety of everyone and especially our vulnerable and elderly population, but I do understand this affects everyone.
‘‘While essential services such as supermarkets are still open, we beg you to not hoard or panic buy as it negatively impacts everyone in this community.
‘‘There is no need for it because there is plenty for everyone.
‘‘Go in and buy what you need for the week and don’t panic. Just follow the directives given by government and practice good hygiene.”
Mrs Rutter said affected businesses should reach out to learn more, and to access where eligible, support packages.
‘‘I suggest anyone affected to get in touch with Centrelink, especially if you have lost employment, and talk to your banks because they are there to help.
‘‘There is help for businesses too. We are all in this together, so don’t be afraid to ask or help.’’