Casual workers across Ballarat have had to accept seven days with little or no pay and are now staring down the barrel of more income loss if this lockdown extends.
The seven-day snap lockdown announced across the state last Friday has had its biggest impacts on the retail and hospitality industries.
While some workers can rely on paid leave to get them through, most casuals are left with no safety net since JobKeeper wage subsidy payments ended last month.
While Mount Clear mother-of-three Annemaree Torney worked as a casual disability support worker at Melba Support Services for just three months before the state government's snap lockdown announcement last week, she lost her previous job during 2020.
My grief is really with the government. I'm scared, I suffer from anxiety as it is and I'm fearful that I might lose my job.Carol Tilley
"I know why they have to do it, but the unknown is so hard for all casual workers," said Ms Torney, who had to turn down three last-minute shifts this week to look after her three kids who are learning remotely.
"I need to give the school notice to drop the kids off during lockdown as an essential worker, and I don't want to organise it if work ends up cancelling.
"I could be taking a spot from another kid who really needs to be there.
"I'm just waiting and hoping at the moment, if the lockdown is extended on Thursday I'll just have to go to my employer and discuss my options."
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Jack, a casual relief teacher who only graduated in mid-2020, is also feeling the financial strain.
I haven't had job security since the start of 2020.Jack, a casual relief teacher
He usually works between Ballarat, Colac and Geelong but had five confirmed shifts cancelled this week.
"That's about $1600 just straight out of my pocket. As a teacher, there are only so many days you can work per year, so you really feel it when you miss out on a day of work.
"I've got enough savings to get me through this week, but if the lockdown extends I'll have to find a side hustle or see what Centrelink can offer me. I haven't had job security since the start of 2020."
Fifty-four year old Carol Tilley is no stranger to work uncertainty, one of the lucky few in the travel industry who held onto her job during the pandemic.
Her hours in Foreign Currency Exchange at Travelex in Ballarat have been cut from 30 to 15 per week since 2020.
Travelex are still paying Ms Tilley for half of her rostered hours for this week, despite her office being shut.
"The company really stood by us last year through it all, my grief is really with the government. I'm scared, I suffer from anxiety as it is and I'm fearful that I might lose my job," she said.
Business owners directly affected by the circuit-breaker lockdown can apply for grants of $2500.
Licensed hospitality venues could be eligible for up to $3500, while businesses in the events industry will share in a $20 million fund.
There are no updates about the current lockdown extending beyond 11.59pm on Thursday.