People from lockdown postcodes have been caught flouting restrictions and trying to gain entry to businesses in the Macedon Ranges.
State-mandated identity checks for hospitality and retail have revealed an alarming number of rule-breakers, people refusing to cooperate and abuse directed at small business owners.
Businesses found serving people who should not be in the regions can be fined $9913.
One Kyneton hospitality venue reported upwards of 10 people being refused entry to their establishment on some weekend days while one in Bendigo reported turning away at least 70 in a week.
“It makes us anxious because we don’t want to become an exposure site and we don’t want to see the regions locked down again,” the Kyneton business manager said.
“A lot of people are coming in without ID and expecting service. We don’t ever want to turn anyone away but we need to be strict.
“Some people have been shocked to be asked for their ID and have told us they don’t need to or refused. Some have told us they have been to other venues or shops without being asked.
“I understand that people want to go out again now, but they’ve got to be fair to the people and businesses that are accommodating that. We need to check IDs to make it as safe as possible for everyone.”
The venue manager told the Express they also stopped a couple from NSW entering their venue who claimed they had just moved to the area.
“There was no way that we could verify what they were saying so we couldn’t serve them. Their IDs stated they were from NSW. Not updating IDs is a poor excuse,” they said.
“We just can’t afford to take people’s word for it. The risk is too great to us as a business and to the greater community.”
Business Kyneton president Kate Fairley said reports of visitors from outside the regions were not limited to Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges.
“We are hearing that there’s definitely an issue with people visiting from outside the regions and people not wanting to show their IDs. We have heard reports in Daylesford, Ballarat and other towns,” she said.
“Our hospitality businesses have had it tough, the last thing they need at the moment is abuse from people.
“The Delta strain is so contagious and it would be devastating if it reached the Macedon Ranges. The impact on businesses would be completely different to metropolitan areas.”
Business Kyneton members are urging businesses in the Ranges to keep a united front in refusing entry for people from outside the region or those without IDs.
Businesses can subscribe to the Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s business and economic tourism newsletter for the latest information on coronavirus.