The COVID numbers are coming down and the State Government will make announcements about ‘a road map’ for coming out of lockdown on Sunday.

It is likely the Victorian Government will ease restrictions in stages and that a new set of rules will be introduced. If that happens Daylesford and Hepburn Springs can expect increasing numbers of visitors again, first from regional Victoria and then from Melbourne, depending on how restrictions are lifted.

Popular visitor destinations like Daylesford and Hepburn Springs will need a COVID plan.

Hepburn Shire Council CEO, Evan King, said “Last time we came out of lockdown we saw our part of the world remaining a very popular place to visit and stay, especially for people from Melbourne.

“We are excited to see our visitors return and stimulate our local economy by pumping money into our local businesses and employers. We need to do all we can to get the balance right and keep our Shire COVID safe.”

When Daylesford and Hepburn Springs opened up after the last round of restrictions there were large crowds in Vincent Street, traders had difficulty controlling numbers inside shops and the Sunday Markets had to close because crowds couldn’t be managed safely. Local residents were extremely concerned about the risk of infection and there were calls for tighter controls and more enforcement.

Council says it is working closely with the community and business during COVID-19.  There is an Emergency Management Team that is looking at options for assisting businesses and community venues to remain COVID-safe when restrictions are eased. However, details of what is being proposed have not been announced.

The lesson that has already been learned, particularly in aged care, is that plans should be decided, announced and communicated in advance, before visitor numbers rise.

Council is surveying businesses and talking to businesses and business associations about plans for reopening. Council is happy to talk to businesses that haven’t received the survey or would like to discuss the issues further.