The effects of another lockdown

Lilydale's Hutch & Co venue manager Jordi Aldarez standing in the once bustling outdoor dining area with a take away coffee after fourth lock down was announced. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS. 239075_05

By Mikayla van Loon

Businesses have seen lockdowns time and time again and yet they are remaining positive.

With the announcement of a snap seven day lockdown on Thursday 27 May beginning from 11.59pm, Yarra Ranges businesses had just 12 hours to prepare for alternate trading.

Although no one could predict what the State government was going to do, business owners and managers had some inkling that a lockdown would come into effect.

For Mooroolbark’s Blooms on Brice florist owner Kerri Grassby she expected that a lockdown could be inevitable.

“We are as prepared as any other business,” she said.

“There’s lots of sad people out there so we’re not sure whether the response will be like last time.”

Ms Grassby said because Blooms on Brice has a great online presence and social media, she expects online and pick up trade will still be normal but said some wastage will occur because walk-in trade won’t be available.

“Trade will drop off significantly,” she said.

“But at least it won’t be like Valentine’s Day.”

Ms Grassby said a seven day lockdown is fairly sustainable but if it is extended she’s not sure how the business will manage.

Lilydale’s Hutch & Co venue manager Jordi Aldarez said the cafe has had to reduce employee shifts to one a day over the next few days and they won’t be able to do more than that until at least next Friday.

“Fingers crossed it all goes back to normal by Friday,” he said.

Although Mr Aldarez said the lockdown will change how Hutch & Co serve customers, it won’t have a large impact on the business unless the lockdown is extended significantly.

“We are a very steady business, so we’re a little bit boring in terms of this lockdown affecting us,” he said.

“It is of course [going to impact us], we’re not going to say it is great.”

Because of takeaway and pick up being available, Mr Aldarez doesn’t think much wastage will occur, as the cafe will be able to utilise the majority of its food stocks.

But for members in the community that are already the most vulnerable, this lockdown is not going to be easy for them.

CIS Yarra Ranges Op Shop store manager Michele Swarbrick said she’s not sure how those who are homeless are going to manage without access to op shop services.

“The way it affects the op shop is that first and foremost we can’t have people coming in to purchase,” she said.

“The most important part of it is that if we’ve got people in the area that need support with more winter clothing or anything, we’re closed so we can’t give out anything.

“It means that they are just going to have to survive with what they’ve currently got which is awful but there is nothing we can do.

“We try to look after each other, we try and do the best we can but with us all having to be shut down, it means that they have got to try and survive as best they can with what they’ve got.”

Ms Swarbrick’s other worry is that people don’t necessarily have access to the news or won’t receive notifications about the lockdown unless somebody tells them.

“It is an awful situation but it’s across the board, it would be every suburb, every vicinity would have this same problem where those poor people that are so vulnerable are even more vulnerable,” she said.

With the weather expected to have extremely low overnight temperatures, these next seven days will be cold and uncomfortable for those sleeping rough.

“If you do happen to see somebody who does look as if they are homeless, if they’re sitting huddled somewhere, if you’re going to buy a coffee just ask them ‘are you ok? Could I buy you a coffee?’”

“We can’t all afford to go and buy a blanket or go and buy a coat but sometimes just that warm cup of tea or even just a friendly smile will help and a ‘are you ok?’ Most of the time they are very thankful that somebody thought of them.”