Ballarat's leaders and business owners are reminding members of the community to be kind to each other as lockdown is lifted in regional Victoria and new restrictions are imposed.
Businesses will be required to check the ID of all customers to ensure they are not from Melbourne and enforce the requirement to check-in using QR codes.
Alfredton Hair and Beauty owner Liana Furness said her staff were scared and nervous to return to work after negative experiences in the past asking clients for ID and to check-in.
"Last time we had to do ID checks, the amount of people that got really upset and angry was phenomenal," she said.
"There were people yelling at the front of the shop and refusing to show their licence.
"We are not trained on how to handle that kind of thing. When they start saying it is their right they don't have to do that, we don't know what to say to that."
I have had staff members come to me crying because of the way they have been treated at the moment.Liana Furness, Alfredton Hair and Beauty
Ms Furness shared a story of one experience when a male client refused to check-in and said he would not leave until someone cut his hair.
"We explained by law he had to do it and we could both cop a fine. He said he didn't believe it and refused," she said.
"We showed him the rules on the computer. He eventually came around and did sign in and was apologetic by the end of it because there were quite a few distressed staff members while this was happening.
"We had another lady who walked out of a three hour appointment because she didn't want to sign in."
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Ms Furness said staff were struggling with extra requirements including cleaning and now ID checks and she hoped clients would be more understanding when the salon reopened on Friday.
"I have had staff members come to me crying because of the way they have been treated at the moment," she said.
"It is frustrating when everyone is trying to do what we have been told and there are people taking their frustration out on us."
Commerce Ballarat chief executive Jodie Gillett said the first business owner she spoke to after new restrictions were announced on Wednesday said he was 'sick in the stomach' at the thought of asking his staff to do ID checks.
"He said 'I don't know I can ask them so I am going to have to do it myself'," she said.
"We need our community to understand and appreciate if we want to be open and we want to have that COVID normal life we had a couple of weeks ago, then contact tracing is absolutely key.
"Please don't just do the check-in when you are asked, do it before you are asked and do it with a smile."
Ms Gillett said business owners were now required to be gatekeepers and police to keep the community safe.
"They are doing that willingly, they want to keep our community safe, but we need our community to understand the pressure they are under," she said.
"This lockdown has been by far the worst.
"They don't have support, their casuals don't have support, they are feeling guilty and concerned and distressed about their casual staff not having income and they are wondering how they can pay the next bill.
"We can lessen that by doing what is required and doing it with a smile on your face.
"Business owners are as low as they have ever been. It is really worrying and sad to see."
City of Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney called for people to be kind.
"At the moment we are just grateful people can get back to work," he said.
"The last thing people need is to be hassled. Hopefully people can continue to be kind and understand everyone is trying to make the best of a difficult situation."
Mr Moloney also asked residents to reach out to friends and family in Melbourne and show their support.
Committee for Ballarat chief executive Michael Poulton said individuals needed to take responsibility to check-in to each venue and make sure they were complying with restrictions.
"The only way through this is if we can show compassion and care for each other," he said.
"There is a long way to go, it is going to be a long game and the only way to get through a long game is when we support and care for each other.
"It is the individual responsibility of all of us to ensure we can get through what is a really tough time. Compliance we know is going to help us get through this in the longer term.
"Contact tracing is critical to us seeing the other side of this pandemic and it is just such a little thing we can do to help the contact tracers out should we need that by checking in with QR codes everywhere we go."
Partners in Wellbeing helpline provides one-to-one wellbeing support and free access to financial counsellors for businesses. Call 1300 375 330.
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