The alpine region's 'double trauma' of bushfires and COVID-19 resulted in massive financial losses for many small businesses, a Victorian parliamentary inquiry.
Michael Dal Zotto of Dal Zotto Wines told a public hearing in Bright 900 tonnes of fruit, worth between $6 million to $7.5 million, were tainted by smoke during Black Summer and left on the vine.
Mr Dal Zotto said that loss was followed by a massive drop in visitation due to COVID restrictions.
"There was an actual change in turnover of close to around half a million dollars," he said.
In addition, the winery had to hire, pay and roster additional staff to deal with COVID protocols.
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Bright Brewery operations director Rupert Shaw said COVID eliminated business overnight 'with no end in sight'.
Even once they could open for takeaway, Bright's small population mean there was virtually no market.
While JobKeeper things improved the situation 'we were losing money hand over fist', Mr Shaw said.
Tourism North East chief executive officer Bess Nolan-Cook said the region lost $1.3 billion across three quarters last year and 'no financial cushion for the year ahead'.
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