Local businesses adapt to new COVID-19 restrictions

The Maryborough Highland Society officially closed its doors on Monday and will remain shut until coronavirus restrictions are lifted, a decision general manager Malcolm Blandthorn said was difficult, but necessary.

Despite strong measures introduced this week to limit the spread of coronavirus, the local hospitality industry has been working overtime to find alternative ways to keep businesses running and locals employed.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday that by midday, all non-essential businesses including pubs, cinemas, gyms and entertainment venues would be closed in stage one of a shut down — with restaurants and cafés only allowed to provide home delivery or takeaway services.

Some of the town’s biggest hospitality employers, the Mary- borough Highland Society and Maryborough Golf Club, have been forced to completely shut up shop while the new regulations are in place.

The Highland Society was one of the first to close its doors, staying shut on Monday which general manager Malcolm Blandthorn said was a tough but necessary decision.

“I made the call at about 6 am on Monday morning that there was no point opening the doors since they’d have to be shut by midday,” he said.

“Instead the staff rostered on made a start on packing up. We’ve been going for something like 160 years and we’ve never experienced anything like this.

“We understand why the government is doing this, and we believe to an extent this has more been in response to the metropolitan areas where the four square metre rule between patrons was not always followed. Unfortunately that means it’ll hurt quite a few people around here.”

For more on this story see Page 3 of The Advertiser, Friday, March 27

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