DEJECTED, fatigued and sad is how Bendigo business owners have described themselves, as they shut down with just hours notice when the regional Victoria entered its seventh lockdown.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced about 10.45am on Saturday that regional Victoria would lockdown from 1pm, until at least 11.59pm on September 2.
For eateries the lockdown meant closing with a fridge full of food, sometimes in the middle of a busy service.
Everbean Cafe owner Jacinta Jones said a lockdown announcement in the middle of service, with just a few hours notice, made things really difficult. She said it would have been easier for her business if the lockdown announcement was made on Friday night.
Ms Jones said the short notice meant she had a fridge full of food that would go to waste, with everything prepared.
She said she had left it as late as possible on Friday night to prepare, but without an announcement, she couldn't go into service unready.
"I understand they've got to do it, but when we're in the middle of service. We had a cafe full of people and someone says 'They're locking us down from 1pm'," she said.
"For hospitality, when you're in service time you just can't stop and think about anything else.
"All I knew was I had to have everyone out by 1pm. [It was] really difficult in a lot of ways, it should have just been last night."
Tourism was also hit hard by the shutdown.
Bendigo Heritage Attractions chief executive James Reade said people were half way through tours when news of the lockdown came in, and the business shut immediately.
Mr Reade said the lockdown was another blow, coming less than two weeks after Heritage Attractions reopened.
He said staff were absolutely devastated, but understood the challenges with the COVID-19 on Bendigo's doorstep.
Mr Reade said the business had stood down all of its customer facing staff members, for the seventh time. He said it was reviewing the effects on its tram workshop and manufacturing business.
"We're obviously a bit sad, a bit fatigued, we've got whiplash from open shut, open shut. It's just getting really quite draining," Mr Reade said.
"It makes it really hard to plan and support your staff when you're only getting that two hours notice."
Bendigo business owner Nadja Bettin shut up her shop Lanamee on Saturday just two weeks after opening for the first time.
Ms Bettin said it was sad to hear about the lockdown, but she had a contingency plan in place.
"I was fully aware of what the possibilities of closure where when I opened up the retail shop. I knew that was a factor," she said.
Ms Bettin said she planned to work on developing her website, and open for click and collect on social media.
Bendigo Tourism chair Finn Vedelsby called on everyone to get vaccinated, saying it was the only way to reach some sort of normal.
Personally he said he felt dejected, saying the lockdown was "shattering".
Mr Vedelsby said the mental health toll of constant rolling lockdowns was visibly showing for many of his colleagues.
"Many businesses and therefore small families can't keep doing this, it's been almost two years that we've been opening and closing," he said.
"The best vaccine for you to get is the one that you can get right now.
"We need to get those numbers up, so we can open to normal in the not-too distant future, in protected and safe way."
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