COVID signs outrage Rochester businesses and locals

By Alex Gretgrix

ROCHESTER is still open for business despite signs appearing throughout the town urging tourists to stay away.

‘‘Keep Rochy COVID free’’ and ‘‘no tourist please’’ were placed along the Northern Hwy last week.

It is not clear who is responsible for the signs but Rochester’s Kate Taylor said they were simply not true.

“After all the trouble this town has gone to re-invent itself and for someone to do that, it's disappointing,” she said.

“With everything we have here in town and now the northern silo art trail coming together, it makes you wonder what people want from this town.

“Doing something like this is senseless."

Mrs Taylor said a local saw them and took them down.

She said while everyone could understand the concern, especially with the rise in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne, the town needed tourism to survive.

“I know everyone has reacted differently to the pandemic, but as a whole we're pretty lucky to have few cases in the Campaspe Shire area,” she said.

Rochester Business Network president Glenda Nichol said the hard work by locals shouldn’t be ruined by these signs.

‘‘We have a lot of volunteers who are working to bring people to town and to have someone put these signs up without consulting anyone else is just disappointing,’’ she said.

‘‘Tourism is the economic lifeblood of this town and it’s tough enough for businesses as is.

‘‘While we realise everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it is possible to be safe in town without discouraging tourists.

‘‘Businesses have put measures in place and if we keep our hygiene up, we can get through this.’’