Moama businesses feel the heat of border changes

By Andrew Johnston

MOAMA businesses hold major concerns about the long-term impacts of the NSW-Victoria border closure.

Recent changes to border restrictions have made travel across the bridge more difficult, essentially removing the "everyday life" reason.

Moama Bowling Club sales and marketing manager George Santos said every business was experiencing the same impact.

“The most recent changes have really impacted us,” he said.

“Things have slowed down a lot with the loss of the local traffic from the Echuca side of the river. There isn't any area which has been affected more than others, we are seeing this drop in every area of the business.

“We rely on locals, and while we still have some coming in from this side, it's definitely an issue. We have the ADF having lunch and dinner with us, which has allowed us to keep people busy at times, but it will definitely remain an issue for the time being.”

The loss of customer bases has Border Inn publican Adie Daly concerned the impact will be worse than the original coronavirus lockdown.

“We've definitely noticed the difference,” he said.

“We were pretty lucky to begin with, but now we are being put in a difficult position due actions we can't control.

“The vast majority of people in our community are doing the right thing, but decisions are being made based on slowing the spread in the cities without taking into account the impact it has on these communities.

“It's beginning to take its toll on all local businesses. We are looking into ways to shuffle around staff so it has the least impact on day-to-day life for them, but there are more than a few challenges being presented by the closure.”

Glenn Rogers, hospitality supervisor of CLRS social enterprise Murray River Tea Rooms, said they were finding new ways to do business.

“We've sold a lot of coffees to police officers working on the checkpoint,” he said.

“A lot of people are buying ‘pay it forward’ coffees, and we have run a few competitions on our social media to get people through, but things have absolutely slowed down in the past few weeks.”