MORNINGTON Peninsula and bayside businesses are experiencing the fallout from increasing COVID-19 infections, with some having to close at their busiest time of the year due to staff shortages.
Hotel Sorrento closed its restaurant and bar on New Year’s Eve “due to health and safety reasons” and will not open until 7 January.
The hotel was impacted due to a positive COVID-19 case on Thursday, December 30.
Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club has suffered a similar fate, with nine staff testing positive, along with several members. However, instead of closing the club will reduce its restaurant operations and has halted sailing lessons.
Most hospitality businesses are experiencing severe staff shortages as a result of people becoming close contacts or being infected but are striving to stay open.
They are also facing new density limits announced on Wednesday.
New rules mean a limit of one person per two square metres indoors, which could significantly impact the ability of many venues to remain profitable.
Kera Zaltsberg, of Mornington Peninsula Beachside Tourism, said all hospitality businesses would be feeling the pinch of staff shortages as well as cancellations.
“Lots of people are cancelling bookings, which impacts businesses, and then we have staff shortages, just like everyone else in Victoria and New South Wales is experiencing,” she said.
Ms Zaltsberg said it was important to remind the community to “be kind” when having to wait for service or products.
“Businesses are doing their best in a really difficult situation, so I’d just like to get the message out there for people to be patient and understanding.”
Many businesses are posting messages on their social media sites to urge patrons to be patient and “kind” to staff who are under extreme pressure.
Mornington Hotel’s Facebook page has a note to thank and remind patrons that “these are challenging times” where businesses are having to adjust operations at short notice to cope with staff shortages.
Like most venues on the peninsula, it has needed staff since before Christmas with the current COVID outbreak exacerbating shortages.