ANXIETY levels are still elevated across the Pyrenees Shire right now, despite being one of the few regions in Victoria untouched by a COVID-19 case.
The shire is regional but hardly remote with Beaufort sliced down the centre by the Western Highway and Avoca sitting on a major link road.
Tourism has been stop-start, being a gateway to the Grampians and dotted with wineries all impacted by Melbourne lockdowns.
Pyrenees mayor Tanya Kehoe said council's aim right from the outset of the pandemic has been to best inform and protect residents.
Calls were put out early, contacting members and checking in with the shire's most vulnerable residents in all communities.
Business linked up to support each other.
More than one third of Pyrenees residents said they were still feeling worried both at the height of stage three restrictions and since restrictions have eased, according to a shire survey presented to council last week.
About one in five Pyrenees residents say they were most concerned about older and more vulnerable members of their communities. The second biggest concern since restrictions have relaxed is about contracting the virus and there were strong fears of a second wave impacting the Pyrenees.
Cr Kehoe said the survey was a good gauge of the community and where support was most needed. She said anxiety levels about contracting COVID were heightened, but this was likely a theme across the state.
"We've tried to be really proactive early in the piece. We do want people to know they feel supported even where they are not meeting others any more," Cr Kehoe said. "
We're protected areas (like Beaufort and Avoca) where there are travellers to keep them COVID safe and try to be proactive about local business.
It's so heartening to have locals getting behind locals as well. Regional areas do pull together and we're so thankful of that."
It's so heartening to have locals getting behind locals as well. Regional areas do pull together and we're so thankful of that.Pyrenees mayor Tanya Kehoe
While Pyrenees has changed its tourist strategy as a shire, business across the shire have done their own pivots.
When cafes across the shire looked to takeaway coffee and toasties during lockdowns, Beaufort Park Cafe's Anand Nadarajan added Asian curries to his menu as a point of difference.
The popularity of the dishes took him completely by surprise.
Summerfield Winery in Moonambel used its takeaway counter to serve pizzas to locals from up to 45 kilometres away.
The winery's location, on the Stawell-Avoca Road, proved handy where other wineries opted to close their cellar doors.
Pyrenees Shire is also establishing an economic taskforce to help businesses recover and adapt to the new normal as the pandemic evolved.
Cr Kehoe said this would be people on the ground working with council to best find a way forward and support businesses to manage their own recovery.
She looked forward to more Pyrenees innovative ideas.
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