‘I’m furious’: Rage over Dan’s delay
Businesses have slammed Daniel Andrews' "cautious pause" on easing restrictions, after a hoped-for announcement that retail and hospitality could begin opening was delayed on Sunday.
An outbreak in Melbourne's northern suburbs has meant Melbourne residents will continue living under the same level of lockdown despite expectations some rules would go from Sunday.
Chapel Street Precinct Association general manager Chrissie Maus said businesses could not hold out much longer in the "harrowing" lockdown.
"I have witnessed some of the most resilient businesswomen and men, and I'm seriously concerned they're past the tipping point," she said.
"I can't believe anything that comes out of (the Premier's) mouth now. We made the under five, and that was the trigger point."
Victoria's "roadmap to recovery" promised a step towards COVID-normal once Melbourne had a rolling 14-day average of below five new cases a day, which was achieved this weekend.
But the Premier announced on Sunday there would be a "cautious pause" while tests from the northern suburbs were processed, and said there would be an update during the week.
Ms Maus said the backtracking was "inhumane" for business-owners.
"I'm furious," she said.
"All this week he had been telling us there would be significant announcements on Sunday.
"Our hospitality sector was buying food and rostering staff just in case, because they can't just click their fingers and open up overnight.
"It's unacceptable, given the promises that he gave.
"The patience is gone."
Pierrick Boyer, dessert chef and business-owner of the Reverie cafes in Doncaster, the CBD and Prahran, said he hadn't made preparations ahead of this Sunday because "there's been too many disappointments".
"I wasn't banking on reopening tomorrow, and reopening at a few days' notice is just ridiculous," he said.
He was looking forward to being able to reopen with limited indoor and outdoor seating, but believed now was the time to take that step.
"The worst is when I look at the other states," he said.
"Having zero cases is not - we have to learn to live with (COVID-19).
"Have restrictions - I'm not saying no restrictions - but don't shut down the economy.
"Hard lockdown for six to eight weeks avoids a massive influx of people going to the ER - but I think by now all those things should be fixed."
Changing the goal posts is confidence shattering for businesses that are struggling to hold on.— Sally Capp (@sallycapp) October 25, 2020
Every day is critical to keeping Melburnians in jobs and saving businesses.
Christian Ruggeri, owner of fitness business Kaya Health Club, said he was "beyond disappointment" after Sunday's lack of announcement.
"We've been closed since March 23," he said. "We opened for a very, very short time, for 16 days, in June. We've got stringent safety measures in place, and he still isn't allowing us to open."
"I wasn't expecting us to reopen next week, but I was expecting (Daniel Andrews) to at least acknowledge the industry.
"He keeps referring to hospitality and retail, but still no mention of gyms."
Mr Ruggeri said it would be difficult for fitness businesses to remain viable with restrictions on numbers in place, as will be the case in regional Victoria from Wednesday.
But he said the industry still wanted to reopen for the sake of the community.
"A lot of people do fitness for their mental wellbeing," he said.
"We know for a fact - there's been studies done on this - people have lost motivation, they feel isolated, they need escape and community.
"They're just digging themselves deeper into this rut of depression and anxiety.
"We want to open for our members, to keep them sane."
In his press conference on Sunday, Mr Andrews said it was necessary to delay reopening until contact tracing had completed in the northern suburbs.
"I know it is frustrating and the labs are working as fast as they can - there are teams, hundreds of people, out there on the ground working across the northern suburbs to track down every single lead," he said.
"All the way along I have tried to be as clear as I can be that nothing can be guaranteed.
"We have come a long way, we all have and the last thing any of us needs to do now is to ignore the fact that there are cases in the northern suburbs, there are results that are pending and we do not have those processed tests.
"As soon as we can establish that the cases are linked to each other, rather than some much bigger problem, potentially across the northern suburbs, then we will be able to not only announce the next steps, we can confidently take them."
Originally published as 'I'm furious': Rage over Dan's delay