HEALTH experts warn we are entering a dangerous new phase of the COVID-19 crisis and we should brace for new limits on the way we all work and play.
Concerning outbreaks in Melbourne last week and south-west Sydney this week have put eastern states on high alert and, naturally, created very real concerns in the community.
And NSW businesses that are only just returning to some sense of normality following three months of enforced shutdowns make be nervously following the situation in Melbourne where the city has now been locked down for another six weeks.
With all that to consider, Bathurst RSL Club's decision to turn away visitors from known COVID-19 hot spots should not really surprise us; indeed, the greater surprise is that more clubs have not taken the same approach so far.
From Wednesday, Bathurst RSL has introduced new rules barring visitors from Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Albury and Victoria from entering the premises.
The club says the move is to protect the health and safety of its patrons and staff, and there's no doubt that has been a major consideration.
The RSL generally attracts an older demographic that is more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus and more likely to be hospitalised than younger people if they do come down with it.
But the RSL must also be looking at the bottom line and considering the potential financial impacts of having to close again due to a localised outbreak of coronavirus.
The Crossroads Hotel in Casula has been the epicentre of Sydney's COVID-19 outbreak and has been closed for several days as health authorities continue tracking down potentially-infected patrons.
The cost of that closure must be devastating given the tough year all hotels have had and a number of other businesses - the Picton Hotel and Planet Fitness Casula among them - have also had temporary closures as part of the virus cluster.
So by doing what it can to minimise the risks of COVID-19 in its own venue, the Bathurst RSL is helping to look after both itself and the rest of the local business community.
We're in uncharted waters and this story is changing every day, so businesses are being forced to make decisions they've never considered before. All they can do then, is simply cross their fingers.
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