A WARRNAMBOOL hotel owner has been left 'dumbfounded' by COVID restrictions which he says make his business unviable.
Hotel Warrnambool owner Steven Phillpot said with the recent lockdown ending he had thought he would be able to use the hotel dining room as an event function area to accommodate 20 people with a four square metre density.
But on Friday he was advised by the Australian Hotels Association that a function facility needed to be entirely separate from the hotel, must have a separate entry and exit to that used to enter and exit for the rest of the hotel, must have separate toilets, dedicated staff for the function room and a separate kitchen.
"We'd been operating since Monday with the dining room as a designated event function area," he said."
"We thought could fit 20 people with a four square metre density limit and we've been doing that separate and closed off to the other areas."
Instead Mr Philpot will now only be allowed 10 people inside the hotel and 20 people outside.
"If the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) come around and inspect you like they did last weekend they'll fine us," he said.
"It's not viable at all.
"People need to go to work.
"It's insane and people aren't being held to account for these decisions.
"You can go to Bunnings, you can have hundreds of people in the supermarket, you can have 52 people in the ABC book shop in Liebig Street. We're being victimised."
Mr Phillpot said throughout the lockdowns his business had followed all the restrictions but this latest rule had left him dumbfounded.
"It's stupid," he said.
"I've just lost faith in the decision making process."
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said the state government needed to show respect to businesses who wanted to do the right thing and explain the rationale for the rules.
"It just seems to be that the government is making it impossible for businesses," she said.
"There's quite clearly a need to go back to density quotas and if there is a rationale that it's not ok to have density quotas this time then the government needs to show the respect to business and show why."
She said the current restrictions for many hospitality venues were unworkable.
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"People are prepared to do the right thing but when they're just not getting the respect of knowledge they're starting to get pretty irate and understandably so when it's unworkable," she said.
"Businesses just want consistency.
"The rules changing every time as we yoyo in and out of lockdowns is causing massive confusion and eroding confidence which not what we want to see in a pandemic where we want to work together and get through this in a safe manner."
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