VICTORIA'S top publican says he holds concerns for rural pubs who will be forced to close to patrons as the state moves back to level three restrictions from Thursday.
David Canny, who runs Golden Point's Red Lion Hotel, and is also the president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Hotel's Association, is one of dozens of Ballarat publicans who will be forced to close to patrons from Thursday for the second time this year.
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But Mr Canny said he would have preferred the whole state to go into stage four lockdown as is currently in place in Melbourne.
"We've seen how stage three went in Melbourne and it didn't work, I'm concerned that we'll be constantly behind in the regional areas," he said.
"How do we know stage three is going to work in the regions? I would have preferred stage four, where we can keep food going as it's an essential service.
"I'm concerned for the rural pubs. There are areas like Horsham, Hamilton, Mildura, Swan Hill where there hasn't been any cases and yet they've been lumped in with the rest. I know there is a lot of anger out there."
Mr Canny said his own pub would revert to takeaway meals six nights a week and takeaway lunches on Thursday and Friday to cater for the tradie market.
We've seen how stage three went in Melbourne and it didn't work,David Canny
"We've obviously now got a bit of experience and we think it's easier to reopen if you keep ticking things along," he said.
"You've got all your overhead costs such as refrigeration, you don't have to throw out stock. Restarting is easier if you've kept going."
Western Hotel manager Dan Cronin said the pub will also be reverting to a takeaway menu for evenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, while drive-thru coffee and lunches also available.
He said at no point did the hotel consider closing given JobKeeper was firmly in place and there would be eligible staff.
"We've still got our overheads to pay such as electricity, hopefully we can remain busy enough that we'll be able to employ a couple of staff," he said.
The Sporting Globe in Lydiard Street will also revert to a takeaway only menu. It will be open seven days a week from 11.30am to 9pm, and it's own delivery service will run from 5pm each night.
Brown Hill Hotel will remain open for takeaway meals alongside its bottle shop."We'll keep going," publican Krtista Harvey said. "It has been a little bit challenging but we understand why they need to do it, we'll do out bit for a six week period.
"We were very lucky last time. We had terrific community support from all over Ballarat. We've been able to keep our bottle shop going and takeaway meals. We've told out staff we'll keep paying everyone while we can."
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