Grampians tourism operators have taken a massive hit as a result of the Victorian Government's latest lockdown and while the lockdown has been lifted, businesses are not expecting instant relief.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews made the anticipated announcement this morning, following a day without any new COVID-19 cases from almost 40,000 tests, the biggest day of testing on record in Victoria.
This means people are now freely able to travel around the state, but Grampians businesses are not expecting tourists to return in strong numbers for at least a month.
Halls Gap Caravan Park manager Jenny Gumela said her accommodation business had lost a significant number of bookings as a result of the lockdown and was not expecting an immediate recovery.
"I think we have about 25 guests who stayed and who were either already here or arrived on Friday when the lockdown came into affected, when we should have double that if not more, double or triple," she said.
"It wasn't a particularly busy weekend, but we had to refund about $10,000.
"But a lot of people have been great and left money on their accounts and will be coming back at another date.
"April is usually really busy, but a lot of people have re-booked for April so it is going to be even busier now.
"A few people have re-booked, but I think people will wait until around April because there is a bit of fear around it and we get a lot South Australian visitors and just because we are out of lockdown doesn't mean their borders are open yet so they're affect more so than us because their is less certainty about when their borders are going to open.
"For our casual staff we have had no work for them, because we have had no guests, so there is no cabins to clean to facilities to clean as well so the big affect is on them."
Halls Gap Zoo owner Greg Cullel said despite the lifting of the lockdown he was expecting a quiet period before tourists start to come back to the region.
"I will most certainly will be open tomorrow, we haven't put any staff off because the staff still need to be there," he said.
"I've got $33,000 in wages today, that doesn't come from nowhere, if we are closed or not, our costs don't change so it means now we can actually have people in and start paying off some debt that has added due to the last five days.
"I doubt we will see a rush back, people's confidence is shattered by this and I find it very unlikely there will be a rush back, we might have a reasonable weekend, but the next two days will be as dead as doorknobs.
"My expectation is that this will slow everything down for a month or so and then we will get very busy again and my feeling is it will take a little bit to recover from this one because people will be gun shy."
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