Lockdown hurts Macedon Ranges

Lancefield winery Glen Erin, also a wedding, conference and function, venue, was empty on the weekend after the cancellations of many events.

By Steph McNicol

MACEDON residents are experiencing ‘déjà vu’ after the announcement of a snap lockdown by Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday.
As of Sunday, Victoria had 21 active cases across the state.

Several expsoure sites listed late last week in Sunbury – resulted in pop-up testing sites in Gisborne. 

The Premier said Victorians had to do ‘everything [they] could to keep this virus at bay’, as he announced the five-day lockdown expected to end 11.59pm Wednesday.

The lockdown meant Victorians re-entered restrictions comparable to stage four of 2020 lockdown laws, including only four reasons to leave home – shopping for necessities, care and care giving, work if essential, and exercise.

Learning from home for school students resumed, no visitors are allowed in homes and masks are now mandatory in all settings.

Funerals may go ahead with a limit of 10 people, while weddings must be postponed, and no other public gatherings can go ahead.

“By limiting our movement, we limit the potential spread of the virus, and by going hard and going early, we’re giving ourselves every opportunity to get in front of this,” Mr Andrews said.

“[N]o one else in the world – anywhere – has achieved what we have, and just as we had the courage and conviction to win this war before – we can do it again.”

Wedding, conference and function venue Glen Erin, Lancefield, director Kim Scales said all aspects of her business suffered after the lockdown announcement. 

“We had this whole week booked out, but the number of conferences we’ve had to postpone is phenomenal,” Ms Scales said. 

“We had a wedding booked for February 27, which was already postponed from last year, which has now been cancelled.

“We also had another one booked for March 16, which has been postponed but it might be cancelled too. 

“People can’t afford to come to Victoria for a wedding and then go back to Queensland to quarantine for two weeks.

“No company in their right mind would send people here for a conference – people are too scared to book.

“We’re in the middle of nowhere, so delivery isn’t really viable, and the risk of having staff on the road, we just chose not to do that.”

Lancefield Neighbourhood House coordinator Vivien Philpotts said there was ample support available for people who needed it. 

“[After the announcement] we immediately put something out to say our community support project was still running,” Ms Philpotts said. 

“We’ve got meals and food parcels to help people, and they can ring us to have a chat. 

“We know how to do this, if people want someone to talk to we encourage them to call us and have a chat, and there are lots of things available on Facebook – the Lancefield Romsey Community Support Facebook page. 

“People can also call us on 0491 243 996, 0409 386 875 or 5429 6724.”

Macedon Ranges Shire Council closed its facilities Friday, which will remain closed until at least 11.59pm Wednesday.

Services and facilities closed during this time include customer service centres, libraries, aquatic and leisure centres, Hanging Rock, and event and facility booking and face-to-face consultation will be unavailable. 

Facilities to remain open include kindergartens, maternal and child health services, school crossing staff will continue to work, and community care will continue to be made available. 

Council’s scheduled meeting will be held virtually this week. 

For more information, visit mrsc.vic.gov.au/covidsupport or the Department of Health website. 

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