COVID is causing chaos across Warrnambool's hospitality venues with some of city's largest forced to close their doors while others are struggling through with skeleton staff.
Some staff have tested positive for COVID-19, others were showing symptoms and were struggling to get a test.
Dozens have been deemed close contacts and have to isolate.
Best Western Olde Maritime Motor Inn and Clovelly restaurant owner Raj Patel made the call on Wednesday to close the doors to his restaurant for a week because he didn't have enough staff.
He is also isolating, along with his family, after he tested positive on a Rapid Antigen Test and was awaiting a PCR test result.
Mr Patel said that to keep those staff that were able to work in employment, he was still offering kitchen room service to his motel guests.
"It's just terrible," he said. "It's peak season. It's meant to be a happy time but this COVID has stuffed it up."
Mr Patel said the city was in desperate need of Rapid Antigen Tests to keep businesses operating. "Why are we so behind? Everyone's frustrated," he said.
Hotel Warrnambool owner Steve Phillpot said he had lost 16 staff and would struggle to keep all areas of his business open. "It's a mess," he said. "It's spreading like wildfire."
Mr Phillpot said he wouldn't be able to operate the restaurant for dinner but was hopeful of serving a limited lunch service, and may open the bar if he could staff it.
"I've got two cooks. That's it. I can't run a full menu," he said. "I haven't got many staff.
"When they said we're going to open up 100 per cent I said to my wife 'this is going to end in tears and here it is'."
Mr Phillpot said the rules were if you get sick or were a close contact you've got to isolate which means you can't work.
He said some kind of density limits and seated service should have been kept. "Everyone's just walking around breathing on everybody. That's how it's happened," he said.
Mr Phillpot said there was no talk from the government about whether the businesses had to pay sick leave or whether there was a COVID allowance.
"There's none of that anymore. They've thrown the towel in on us," he said.
Bojangles part-owner Simon Mugavin said he was down five staff who were struggling to get a test.
Mr Mugavin said they would struggle on, but were faced with the prospect of having to cut some of their services.
"We're in trouble. I wonder how long it's going to go on for? How long can I go on operating for?" he said.
"We were running borderline with staff as it was.
"It's quite frightening. If you haven't got money in the bank, you'll be in trouble."
Mr Mugavin said they would keep offering takeaway and home delivery and try to keep the restaurant open as long as they could.
He asked customers to be patient and understanding.
"It's not great. In my 37 years I've never worked harder in my life," he said. "It's a struggle but we'll get through. Somehow we just have to get through.
"It's so busy."
Flying Horse venue manager Dylan Barling said they were down four front of house staff and a couple of kitchen staff.
"We're not closing as of yet," he said. "We'll push through when we can, if we can. Hopefully we can get through and it blows over. Who knows what's going to happen.
"It was already an issue with staff, now it's worse."
City Memorial Bowls club general manager Julie Dosser said they only had two staff off, but a booking for 25 people was cancelled on Wednesday because five of them had COVID.
She said two large bookings also didn't turn up on Tuesday night which made it hard for businesses to balance staff work hours.
Rafferty's owner Mark McIllroy said he was lucky because he had such a big workforce and only had two staff were being tested.
But he said he had a plan for the business if he lost too many staff.
A message on the Star of the West Hotel in Port Fairy said staff shortages meant it had to close its bistro on Wednesday and Thursday but would reopen for lunch and dinner on Friday.
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