Original article by Catherine Taylor
24 July 21
Emily Swift spent two days this week cancelling reservations for events and tastings at her family’s award-winning winery near Nashdale, a few minutes’ drive west of the NSW town of Orange.
It’s a devastating blow, says Swift, who estimates 70 per cent of Printhie Wines’ business has disappeared in the past month as COVID-19 first locked out tourists from Sydney and this week shut down to all customers after two removalists and a truck driver carried COVID-19’s Delta variant into the region.
“We’ve had all our events cancelled pretty much up until Christmas now. The loss of income overnight is dramatic,” says Swift. Printhie Wines is now relying on its online business and strategies learnt during the 2020 lockdown to keep afloat.
It had been a bumper year for many businesses in Orange, a boutique food and wine town built into the fertile slopes of an extinct volcano. With international and even much interstate travel on hold, travellers from cities like Sydney and Canberra had turned to tourism jewels closer to home. Orange — with its vineyards, quality restaurants and gorgeous landscapes — was a popular choice.
“The main street was busy, the restaurants were packed,” says Joanne McRae, who has found herself at the heart of the town’s COVID crisis as both a councillor with Orange City Council and manager of a local GP clinic.
But the shopping strip is now quiet and closed signs hang on most shop windows.
The lockdown — that swept up the neighbouring Cabonne and Blayney council areas too — was implemented with lightning speed on Tuesday, McRae says, catching even the council off guard with many first hearing of the NSW government’s decision from the media.
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