Catherine MasseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
The Goose Bar and Kitchen sold takeaway food and drinks. Pictured are employee Kit Hutchins, assistant bar manager Lara Treacy and kiosk manager Kiara Mitchell.
Camera IconThe Goose Bar and Kitchen sold takeaway food and drinks. Pictured are employee Kit Hutchins, assistant bar manager Lara Treacy and kiosk manager Kiara Mitchell.

A week like no other is expected to end tonight after a COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown thrust Capes locals and visitors indoors for five days.

Masks were worn by people in Perth, Peel and the South West after a hotel-quarantine guard tested positive to the virus. At the time of print, no additional cases had been recorded.

Businesses were affected by the “heavy-handed” lockdown as locals diligently followed restrictions and visitors made the trip back home to see out the uncertain week. Broadwater Resort managing director Evan Lewis said after Sunday’s State Government announcement, many of the visitors at his accommodation left and those who were booked in for the week never arrived.

“All of our reservations this week were cancelled. To date, we lost or pushed back dates for around 20 per cent of our February reservations,” he said.

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Mr Lewis said the response to the announcement was immediate but calm and it was encouraging to see West Australians wearing masks and following State Government guidelines.

Registered accommodation providers Margaret River Region director Debbie Noonan reflected on the amount of cancellations in the region after the announcement, and said the hard lockdown was a disaster for tour businesses and the hospitality sector.

“The Government is trigger happy when it comes to border control and lockdowns. The damage caused to tourism is compounded every time they change the rules.

“The current policy is to lock down first and ask questions later, which costs the economy millions of dollars,” she said.

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association co-chief executive Sharna Kearney agreed.

She said tour businesses were experiencing a high level of uncertainty leading up to the lockdown and virus outbreaks across the country were causing a decrease in travel confidence and forward bookings.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said she hoped the impact would be minimal.

“It is unfortunate that as a result of this latest lockdown, some businesses are having to shut their doors once again,” she said.

Amid the mass cancellations and business troubles, a notable part of the lockdown was when a deja vu moment saw shelves at supermarkets and bottle shops stripped bare in a panic-buying flurry, with toilet paper still a hot commodity. Coles State general manager Pat Zanetti said panic buying at Busselton Coles after the announcement was “intense” but the rest of the week had been much quieter. 

He said it was important for people to remember there would always be plenty of stock in a lockdown situation.

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said this week had been a tough blow for the Capes but the community had been “diligent” and were helping others where possible.

With lockdown set to lift at 6pm today, the community is urged not to be complacent.

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