North East winery tour leader Karen Barber was looking forward to yesterday's announcement about Victoria's easing restrictions, but was left "very disappointed".
"I've got tours booked in for the next couple of months and I was hoping to be able to do a tour starting from [today], but the accommodation affects me," she said.
As of 11.59pm Tuesday night, single households, intimate partners or individuals in single bubbles were allowed to book accommodation, but that excluded Ms Barber's main customer base, groups of friends.
"The only way I can do a tour now for the next two weeks is if they're families and they're staying in the same accommodation with family that they normally live with in the ordinary course of life," Ms Barber said.
"So pretty much all of my tours at the moment have been cancelled for the next two weeks.
"I had a group of girls coming from Echuca, but they had to cancel. They can't come and stay in their accommodation."
Ms Barber said the tours were her only source of income and she was surviving on money she had from selling her last business.
"I'm 59, so that's my retirement nest egg, so I've actually been digging into that just to get by and have my bills paid," she said.
"It is worrying."
She said she was now rethinking hiring an employee in a few months as was the original plan.
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Tourism North East chief executive Bess Nolan-Cook said it was too early to tell how effective the latest easing of restrictions would be in helping tourism operations financially recover from the past two weeks.
"Every time we lockdown and then reopen it presents multiple challenges for business owners and managers," she said.
"Whilst it's incredibly positive news for businesses that they can get back out there and start to trade, the reality is that some of these restrictions present an enormous amount of complexities for businesses.
"We're yet to see the full impacts of those limitations."
Ms Nolan-Cook said the limitations around travel with friends would be felt keenly.
"Particularly around the alpine sector and also people thinking of travelling with additional family groups or friends to wine regions and hiring that Airbnb house for the weekend," she said.
"It's certainly going to be limiting those types of activities from happening."
She said transport tours, now limited to a maximum of 10 patrons, would also be a hurdle.
"Certainly with every lockdown and the absence of JobKeeper, it just gets harder and harder every time we do this," she said.
"It's harder financially. I think it's harder emotionally and mentally for people to stop, recalibrate, think about what the next steps are every time we reopen, not to mention the number of casual staff that lose their shifts."
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