Mildura’s ghost-town like appearance was transformed this week, with the easing of restrictions allowing retail and hospitality businesses to reopen after the snap seven day lockdown.

A relieved, Mildura Grand Hotel Sports Bar owner Mario Mammone said he felt ropeable when the seven day lockdown was announced.

“But the fact is, there isn’t anything you can do about it,” he said.”There aren’t any words to describe this situation – you just feel powerless. The lockdown had to proceed − we didn’t have any other choice. Our hands were tied and we had to close our doors yet again.”

Mr Mammone said that now that the Sports Bar operates a bistro, it was a double-blow to him and it meant a lot of food was wasted.

“Now we’re also serving food it was an added headache. Trying to wrap everything up and trying to work out what to keep and what to throw out is a real juggling act,” he said.

“We don’t get any reimbursement for that – it all comes out of our own pocket.
“All of my casual staff were just getting back on track again and I could fill all of the shifts and suddenly I had to tell them that there was no work for seven days.
“They have to pay rent and buy food and so forth – it’s disastrous − thank goodness we are open again, albiet with some restrictions still.”