NEW CHECKS: Dave Burrell is now supplying marquees at border checkpoints.

THE closure of the border between Victoria and New South Wales has meant new business for Mildura Party Hire’s Dave and Kelly Burrell.

“From the middle of March this year our business had dried up completely. Basically every event, every wedding, every backyard party was cancelled due COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr Burrell said.

“Even now, gatherings are restricted to five people at home in Victoria, and even though they are relaxed a little more across the border, people can’t travel across from Victoria, so our business is still extremely restricted.

“Weddings are limited to 20 people, as opposed to a normal gathering of 100 to 150 guests, major events like the horse races, concerts and things like the field days and ski races have all been cancelled,” he said.

Mr Burrell said the one upside for his business had been the border closure.

“Luckily  we have picked up a bit of work at the checkpoints on the Chaffey and Abbotsford Bridges,” he said.

“We have been supplying some infrastructure, maintaining consumables like gas and firewood, and providing Occupational Health and Safety support and training in regards to the set-up of equipment.

”This has been fantastic for our cash flow and has allowed us to keep the business going.

“With freezing temperatures of a night time and early morning, you can imagine how much fire wood and gas they are using each week just to stay warm,” Mr Burrell said.

“While the current situation is not ideal for any business at the moment, we are extremely thankful to have this opportunity helping out the checkpoints, in what is a pretty bleak time for our company.”

Job Keeper has enabled the company to maintain minimum core staff throughout the lockdown – it has kept them and their business going as well. 

“We’re still busy doing quotes for next year and the year after, but that doesn’t make money now,” Mr Burrell said. 

“We can enter NSW where gatherings of up to 20 can occur, we have border passes for work purposes, so we can service events over there as long as it is within the border bubble.

“We haven’t had any cases since April and we are pretty isolated. The strain these border restrictions and lockdown rules are putting on  Sunraysia businesses is ridiculous.”