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Victorian ski resorts restrict Melbourne holidaymakers amid coronavirus outbreak

By Rhiannon Tuffield, Monday July 6, 2020 - 18:42 EST
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Victorian ski resorts have enforced strict new measures to deal with the pandemic. - ABC

Victoria's alpine ski resorts have officially barred visitors from Melbourne coronavirus hotspots, as cases in the state's capital soar.

The resorts are only accepting guests with prior bookings and are not taking bookings from people living in Melbourne coronavirus hotspots.

For other visitors to the snow, the resorts are enforcing strict COVID-19 guidelines, but the rules have not managed to dispel concerns of locals of a possible COVID-19 outbreak.

Local community concern

The today has thrown a lifeline to the embattled tourism industry, but it has also posed a risk for the local community.

"If there's a positive test result and it's not attended to quickly, then the spread can happen very quickly," said Mt Beauty Medical Centre practice manager Pat Ryder.

"Everyone's flying a little bit by the seat of their pants because we've never really dealt with anything like this before."

Resorts refund COVID-19 suburb residents

Thousands of visitors access Victoria's alpine resorts each winter but visitor numbers have been slashed by more than half due to the pandemic.

As COVID-19 numbers across the state continue to grow, resorts are reassuring visitors they are enforcing strict health and safety measures.

Temperature testing is being practised at Falls Creek businesses, and a COVID-19 testing clinic has also been set up.

Resort spokesperson Sarah Watt confirmed it refunded visitors who were from Melbourne COVID-19 hotspots.

"We're asking people to even before coming to the resort to make sure they're feeling healthy and well," she said.

"It's absolutely key this season — and if you are in a resort and start to feel unwell, we ask you to isolate and call the medical centre."

Ms Watt said there had been significant planning ahead of the reopening.

This included restrictions on numbers and visitors needing to book their trip in advance.

Tests should be prioritised

Mt Beauty Medical Centre is only a 40-minute drive and one of the closest health facilities to the resort.

Practice manager Pat Ryder said she was pleased with how the resort was navigating the pandemic but said COVID-19 test results should be prioritised to ensure no major outbreak occurred.

"Mainly because of the remoteness of the resort and the way it's set up, to get the results back quickly is so important, because it's such an enclosed area," she said.

"If someone does test positive, we need to jump on it straight away."


© ABC 2020

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