With Victoria's snap lockdown extended for the foreseeable future, Ballarat businesses and community members are starting to feel the pressure of a fifth round.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday the fifth lockdown would not end at midnight tonight as originally planned after the state recorded 13 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
Mr Andrews said releasing the state from lockdown now would likely see it back there again soon after.
"This lockdown will be on only as long as it needs to be, not a moment longer but we don't want a situation where we fail to extinguish this, fail to end these chains of transmission only to open again and close again shortly thereafter."
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The Eastern is just one hospitality venue across the state that has had to close yet again. Owner Matt Stone said this one hurt just as much as the others.
"We're just hemorrhaging at the moment because all our bills are there but we're not getting any income," he said. "I'm just numb to it now, I think, to be honest."
"They're doing the right thing, otherwise, we could end up like New South Wales, which I don't want. If we get this done, we can be back in a couple of weeks and hopefully we can be okay again for a while."
Mr Stone said he felt defeated by the repeated lockdowns.
"Personally, I'm probably better at handling them now. I used to get pretty stressed about them but I realise it's out of my hands and it is what it is, I guess, I've probably got to that point now," he said.
"Just the amount of shows we've lost. We've lost some big shows. We've had them cancelled, postponed, I could rattle off a huge list of the bands that we've lost.
"We're getting great support from the community and everything so we've just gonna get going again and try and rebuild."
Retailer Hattie and the Wolf has been forced to pivot to click and collect online orders and owner Andrea Hurley said it was hard to find the motivation to power through a fifth lockdown.
"To be quite honest, in the past where we've just put our head to the ground and got stuck in and done what we can to keep business going, this time I think everybody's getting tired and it's just getting harder and harder each time. The motivation is waning a little bit," she said.
"I think small business, we just can't do it anymore, it's just taking its toll across the board. You get on social media and see everybody crying out this time. People are just suffering and it just can't keep going on like this."
On average, Beyond Blue's support service sees a 14 per cent increase during lockdown periods with the latest trends in Victoria and New South Wales appearing to be in line with that.
Deakin University clinical psychologist and senior lecturer Dr Elizabeth Westrupp said data showed lockdown has a substantial impact on mental health across the board.
"It's not true that everybody is impacted in the same way. Lockdown for some can be beneficial or neutral, at least. I would say for the majority, though, there's some difficulty and for some, it's incredibly difficult," she said.
"Given Victoria experienced such a substantial period of sustained and significant lockdown in 2020, we carry that burden and when it happens again now, there's that real sense of uncertainty about whether it's going to be just five days."
Beyond Blue's coronavirus mental wellbeing support service is available at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au or by calling 1800 512 348.
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