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Pub owner pleads for ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for hospitality industry

3AW Mornings

The hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 shutdowns, so the Premier’s refusal to rule out the extension of Stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne beyond September 13 has the industry worried.

Former AFL player and owner of Lamaro’s Hotel in South Melbourne, Paul Dimattina, says he’s “feeling terrible” and there will be “anarchy in the streets” if lockdown is extended.

He is working with Change Victoria to campaign for better support for businesses throughout the crisis.

“We’ve got staff that are out of work … It’s pretty devastating to be honest with you,” he told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

“The hospitality staff, they’re crying.

“I’ve got staff that we are literally having to counsel every day.”

Mr Dimattina said he doesn’t understand why the hospitality industry is being treated so differently to supermarkets.

“I went to Coles yesterday afternoon and it was a nightclub, it was a disco … heaving,” he said.

“Why are restaurants, cafes, pubs and wine bars deemed to be so different?”

The former AFL player took aim at Premier Daniel Andrews over the severe COVID-19 restrictions.

“I always believe that a great leader is open, honest and transparent. I don’t think that is happening at the moment in our state government,” he said.

“We’re not being given any light at the end of the tunnel, and we need some light at the end of the tunnel.”

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3AW Mornings