More tough restrictions

By Zoe McMaugh

New business restrictions handed down by the Federal Government on Tuesday evening will place even more pressure on the Deniliquin economy.

The cumulative effect of the two different stages of restrictions has forced some businesses to cease operating, while some are changing business models to accommodate the regulations.

But even those who can continue operating in a smaller capacity have had to reduce their staffing levels.

Deniliquin RSL Club CEO David Hart said he regrettably had to stand down 27 staff members this week.

Initially announcing they would close after Sunday’s restriction announcement for pubs and clubs, Mr Hart said to ensure some of his staff could still work they decided to open the kitchen for takeway lunches and dinner.

He said a grocery store, selling surplus items from the kitchen and throughout the club, had also been established within the club to keep a few more on the books.

With a ban on all social functions coming in to place on Tuesday, including severe limitations on funerals and weddings, Country Wedding and Event Hire owner Andrew Jefferies said 40 per cent of their

March and April business had been lost.

‘‘Every event that was booked between now and October has been cancelled, but thankfully 90 per cent of our brides have simply postponed by a year or to another appropriate time.

‘‘But we have had brides in here in tears because their dreams have been shattered.

‘‘Last weekend we went from having five weddings, two 21sts and a 40th to having nothing at all.

‘‘The hardest is the wakes.  We has been contacted to offer marquee wakes after the indoor restrictions, but now we can’t even do that.

‘‘Now you can only have 10 people at a funeral — I have more than 10 people in my family.

‘‘It was really hard to hear funerals would be so severely restricted when (until this week) you were watching a footy game with players tackling each other into the dirt.’’

As frustrating as the restrictions are, Mr Jefferies said everyone understands something needed to be done to protect lives.

He said it was important to try and stay positive, and for everyone to work together during this time.

While they can no longer provide event services, Mr Jefferies said Country Wedding and Event Hire and Party Pack + Wrap were still open as retail stores.