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‘Cannot go against nature’: Fledgling Port Melbourne cafe’s heartbreaking COVID-19 story

Neil Mitchell
Article image for ‘Cannot go against nature’: Fledgling Port Melbourne cafe’s heartbreaking COVID-19 story

A Port Melbourne cafe has made the heartbreaking decision to close after repeated blows due to COVID-19.

The owner leased a Bay Street site at the end of 2019 and began renovations to turn the site from a kebab shop into a cafe.

By the time the renovations were finished, Melbourne was in its first outbreak and Maurice on Bay couldn’t open to dine in customers. It opened for a few weeks before the next lockdown, but the declaration of Bay Street as an exposure zone earlier this month was the final blow for the business.

The cafe has taken to social media to announce it is selling tables, chairs, pots and pans, and then closing.

Manager MJ, who also financially supported her daughter to open the business, says she’s “overwhelmed, very stressed, sad”.

“We could not open but we still had to cop all these expenses,” she told Neil Mitchell.

The cafe tried offering delivery meals, but because it was a new business and not yet established, it wasn’t worth remaining open.

Because the business was new, it also wasn’t eligible for government assistance.

“The only assistance we have is from the owner of the shop we had a 50 per cent three month leasing,” MJ told Neil Mitchell.

COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar declaring Bay Street one of six exposure risk zones was the final straw for the struggling business.

“It stopped customers from coming,” MJ said.

“That was the end of it. We could not cope because each time we closed it set us back four months.”

Press PLAY below to hear MJ explain the heartbreaking situation the cafe found itself in

Neil Mitchell
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