Border hospitality venues have experienced a downturn in trade, but the sector believes Albury-Wodonga has avoided the 'shadow lockdown' occurring in Melbourne and Sydney as cases rise and people stay out of public in a self-impose lockdown.
River Deck owner Alex Smit said in some ways the slow trade has actually helped given staff shortages due to COVID isolation and cases.
"It's hard to tell but we're certainly quieter than we should be this time of year," he said.
"Having said that day-to-day we still can have quite busy days. Perhaps are people staying home by choice or not by choice, but were definitely encouraged by the level of support we're still receiving at moment.
"At the best times staffing is a challenge but we've had numerous staff members who have had to isolate or have even tested positive, but combined with slower trade been able to manage surprisingly well."
Mr Smit said the lack of trade during the summer months will really hurt businesses.
"The obviously impact is in terms of economics," he said.
"We're not able to offer some staff as many hours as we would like, we're not spending as much money with suppliers as we would potentially and it might put us in weaker position coming out of summer than we usually would be."
Mr Smit said they were working hard to stay open and stay smiling seven days a week.
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Hospitality venues in Melbourne and Sydney have reported huge downturns in trade, with businesses suggesting people were self-imposing lockdown due to the high level of Omicron cases.
Over in Wodonga, The Goods Shed has again pivoted to offering takeaway to people isolating at home due to COVID or staying out of public, in addition to their eat-in options.
Bar manager Emma Harrison said even though things are quieter than usual, events and bookings are still going ahead at the popular venue. She said weekends especially were still busy.
"Definitely bookings are down after a busy Christmas-New Year period, we've seen a bit of dip in bookings and walk ins but there are still plenty of people coming in," she said.
"We've made the swift transition to takeaway and delivery, so it's been nice to restart that again and re-engage with customers who know us for our delivery and takeaway.
"Definitely people are still wanting get out and about and to be out at an event, we're not seeing massive decreases over the weekends it's more midweek."
La Maison Restaurant owner Wassim Saliba said strong trade over Christmas and New Year had pulled up sharply this month.
"It's definitely a lot quieter now," he said.
"Generally at this time of year it does slow down but there's more to this story.
"Omicron is playing havoc; two months ago we struggled to know someone who had COVID, now you'd struggle to know someone who hasn't had COVID!
"There's no general lockdown but every business is suffering from a mini-lockdown.
"Close contacts or COVID cases themselves are making it interesting; staff shortages are our biggest challenge and an ongoing issue.
"We're short-staffed but short of customers as well!"
Mr Saliba said they had adjusted their operating hours slightly to focus on the key lunch and dinner trade.
"Last week was unusually quiet and this week is very similar," Mr Saliba said on Thursday.
"People want to dine in and go out and do normal stuff.
"We're dealing with cancellations affecting us because there are COVID cases or close contacts among parties; we've lost a few functions in this way."
Australian Industry Group regional manager Tim Farrah said although summer trade was down the region seemed to avoid the 'shadow lockdown' plaguing the major cities.
He suggested people may feel safer in regional areas because unlike major cities the region has only had a couple of COVID outbreaks comparatively.
"It has to be a feeling of safety for whatever reason," he said.
"I think it has been like that through most of pandemic especially in Albury we've been really fortunate here not to see some of those constant large outbreaks. Over last few years had couple but then it settles down, we haven't had it as bad as cities so people a little bit more secure."
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