PUBLICANS were in shock on Monday as some weighed up takeaway options and told workers their shifts would be cut back, as non-essential gathering places shut nationwide.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the strict coronvavirus response late Sunday, closing pubs, cafes and restaurant dining rooms, but leaving a window open for takeaway and delivery services.
Warrnambool's Whalers Hotel owner Alister Porter said the precautions "had to be done" but his up to 50 staff were "shattered".
"There is definitely a lot out of work, which would be three quarters of our staff," Mr Porter said.
Mr Porter said the business would offer takeaway and home delivery and would "try and mix the staff through" to give as many as possible limited shifts.
"We are going to try and distribute it as fair as we can, a shift here or there," he said.
"We have a big mix, we have ones who are out at Deakin, others with families and kids."
The Dart and Marlin owner Dave de Carteret said he would have to shut the business entirely if he couldn't negotiate rental relief, despite also owning pizza restaurant the Standard Dave.
"If we can't utilise that space, the sale of delivery pizzas isn't going to sustain that business if we are incurring the same overheads," he said.
"The impact is, if we are not able to negotiate rental relief with the owners of the building, we will have to claim insolvency."
Mr de Carteret said if he was able to defer the rent then the business would offer pizza delivery and some employment to its six staff.
"We could adapt our business now and the circumstances might change in the next week ... the not knowing is complicated," he said.
Wendy Murley, who along with her husband Bruce has owned and operated Mickey Bourke's Koroit Hotel for 20 years, said these were uncertain times.
"We are still working out how we are going to manage this time," Mrs Murley said.
"We have to accept the decisions that are being made and find the way we are going to go forward and work out what we can and can't do."
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