IT'S peak tourist season in Port Fairy but the streets are becoming bare and less cars are on the road as only a small number of venues remain open.
This comes just days after several hospitality venues in the town stayed open with reduced hours and staff. Some have shut completely, while others continue to operate. Retailers have also remained open.
Tourists are still in town including Geelong resident Angelica Backen, who has travelled to the region with her husband, daughter and son for a five-day trip. They are also visiting Warrnambool.
"I came here 10 years ago, and this time around it's still busy but not a lot of shops are open so it's been very quiet," she said.
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Ms Backen said with the rising COVID-19 numbers, the family had considered going home earlier, with the cases determining "what you do". "Two days ago I got a text from my neighbour in Geelong to say that her husband has COVID-19, so it's been on our mind," she said.
"We decided to come on the trip because we haven't gone out for a year. The decision we've made while we're here is to try and minimise risk by not going where crowds are, ordering take-away meals instead of eating in and cooking at our accommodation home as much as possible."
They still managed to squeeze in a range of activities, visiting Griffith Island where they saw wallabies, played board games and swam at the pool. They'll also visit the hot springs in Warrnambool.
One hospitality venue that has managed to stay open is The Hub. Owner Dylan Nelson said he stayed open due to other hospitality venues shutting. "We're getting busier because everyone else is closed," he said. "We're shortening our trading hours depending on how busy we are."
The family-run business has 15 staff members. "Our staff members are working shifts every day which isn't sustainable for our business," he said.
Mr Nelson said they couldn't guarantee when they would shut completely, but if they did, it would be reliant on the case numbers, and to give their staff time off.
Love Her Madly staff member Kate Chandley said the boutique fashion retailer remained opened as all three staff members were healthy and double vaccinated. "If one of them gets sick the store will close," she said.
She said overall the town had been quieter than usual. "It's such a shame to see the businesses and cafes close," Ms Chandley said. "There wasn't any COVID-19 for so long but now there's a bit and it's hit during the holiday period. But, we understand that it's happening everywhere."
I came here 10 years ago, and this time around it's still busy but not a lot of shops are open so it's been very quiet.- Angelica Backen
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