WAHGUNYAH is feeling a growing sense of isolation after the major access point to its Murray River neighbour Corowa was shut this week to stop the spread of coronavirus into NSW.
The historic John Foord Bridge, which opened in 1893, has been closed for one of the rare times outside of maintenance reasons and forced Wahgunyah residents to travel to Corowa via the Federation Bridge where a checkpoint has been established by NSW Police.
The bridge is also off-limits to pedestrians in a move which has angered locals who travel to Corowa in many instances on a daily basis for shopping, employment and health care.
"Some of our older citizens walk across the bridge just to do their shopping or just for some social outlet," Wahgunyah Progress Association past president Alan Pleitner said.
"But they can't even do that now.
IN OTHER NEWS
"We've also got two of our local doctors who provide, among other services, the emergency response to anything at the Corowa hospital, which of course is the emergency centre for Corowa and all the surrounding areas.
"Under normal circumstances once they get a call from the hospital they can be across there in five minutes.
"But now it will take them up to 25 minutes and if someone suffers a heart attack or something similar it is too late."
Marge Johns, who works at the service station and newsagent, said the town's senior citizens were paying a big price for the snap decision to shut the borders earlier this week.
"We have a high number of elderly residents who walk and don't have a car either," she said.
"It is a real concern in our community they can't even walk over.
"The only way they get across to Corowa to get food is on foot.
"The moment the bridge closed on Tuesday the town has died."
Wahgunyah resident Malcolm Wylde said frustration with the temporary bridge closure was building.
"For a lot of people it has become pretty difficult because they rely on Corowa a lot to do shopping and other things," he said.
"But being a border community we are not as bad off as people further down (in Melbourne).
"At the moment you've got to go all the way around and queue up (at the checkpoint).
"The issue will be how long it goes for."
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Scott Whyte said bridge closures were based on emergency response planning.
But a bridge at Tooleybuc, which was also initially shut, had re-opened based on community opposition.