Smiling in lockdown
LODDON communities quickly adapted to the snap state-wide lockdown that has lumped harsh COVID restrictions on country areas.
Supermarkets and other key businesses remained open across the region as police, including officers from Bendigo, patrolled local highways and roads at the weekend enforcing strict stay-at-home rules that were due to end last night at 11.59pm.
The Loddon Herald understands infringements were issued Saturday although Victoria Police media unit said: “We won’t be releasing daily statistics at this stage.”
While some businesses have had close, others changed trading hours and customer contact, keeping a smile.
Loddon hotels swiched from dine-in to takeaway. For Inglewood publican Steve Weavell, last Friday’s lockdown announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews after a Melbourne COVID-19 cluster continued to grow came as a blow on Valentine’s weekend.
He said the dining room had been fully booked for the romantic day.
“We’ve gone to takeaway food only for Saturday and Sunday and what is not used, we’ll put into the freezer,” he said.
Steve used the last three days to take a break for the first time since the initial COVID restrictions almost a year ago.
Meanwhile, cafes and bakeries in Wedderburn and Bridgewater were kept busy on Saturday with local and travelling patronage.
One couple had moved their daughter from Mildura to Melbourne on Friday to start university. They had an overnight sleep before making the six-hour trek back north, stopping in the Loddon for lunch and rest.
At Boort Lake Holiday Park, a fully-booked weekend turned to despair as campers quickly packed or had to cancel plans.
The State Government restrictions in force since 11.59pm last Friday are the harshest yet imposed on regional Victoria, most areas without cases of COVID-19 for more than 10 months.