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Déjà vu

By Nicola Smith on July 5, 2021 in News

Lockdown returns. Photo: Nicola Smith

A strange sense of Déjà vu has settled over the Eastern Suburbs a week into the latest round of lockdowns.

While the beaches are still open, local businesses are once again scrambling to adapt to new restrictions and looking to state and federal governments for support.

Dr Marjorie O’Neill, local member for Coogee called for the NSW Government to provide relief payments to small businesses as well as for the community to rally around local shops and services.

“It’s about reminding the community to go local first.  Local businesses support our sporting associations, schools, and other community groups. They really are the backbone of our community,” Dr O’Neill said.

Both relief payments and an extension of the Dine and Discover program to include takeaway were confirmed by the NSW state government on Tuesday.

Ian Muddle, owner of Salina’s café at Bronte Beach said this lockdown was different from the last because cold weather was keeping customers away from the beach.

Empty cafes down at Bronte. Photo: Nicola Smith

“Last lockdown lots of people were coming down to exercise, but there’s definitely a different mood this time around. We focus on coffees and brekky and then we’re closed at one O’clock. There’s not a lot of point staying open an extra hour just to make one or two coffees,” Mr Muddle told The Beast.

Dave Sharma, the Member for Wentworth, also confirmed that there would be a disaster payment available for those who do not have access to income support or a state small business payment.

“This lockdown will hit many businesses and homes hard, and I’m conscious that many families have had their school holiday plans disrupted by this. I’ve confirmed with the Treasurer that the COVID-19 disaster payment will be available to residents of the eastern suburbs from Thursday 1 July,” Mr Sharma told The Beast.

Residents of Randwick, Woollahra and Waverley Council’s became eligible for this payment on July 1.

Waverley Council has also announced the return of their COVID relief package after an extraordinary council meeting.

The package includes direct financial support through fee waivers along with childcare fee relief through the postponement of scheduled fee increases.

Both Mr Sharma and Dr O’Neill were quick to encourage residents to look after themselves and others and get tested at new local clinics on Beach Street in Coogee and Heffron Park.

“Please stay patient, be kind to one another, take the opportunity to get outdoors and exercise, and look out for those more vulnerable and isolated in our communities right now,” Mr Sharma said.

Mr Muddle is optimistic that this lockdown, like the last, will be survived through the help of community.

“Especially around here you’ve got to give Bronte full marks. It is a tight knit community that’s really conscientious, they’re supportive, they ask how you’re going. We’re very lucky here,” Mr Muddle told The Beast.

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