The ongoing COVID restrictions and lockdowns across Australia have left one small business devastated, forced to temporarily close its doors and left struggling to make plans for the future.
Rose Misevic, proprietor of the iconic Dog on the Tuckerbox coffee shop in Gundagai, said that ongoing travel restrictions and border closures have severely impacted foot traffic at the highway destination.
"We're not a border town, we're not a city, so it doesn't get realised how much these things impact us," she said.
"We rely on both New South Wales and Victoria for our corridor to be open (and) we've been impacted every time either city has an outbreak.
"We really really struggled the whole time and we're bleeding, we can't anymore."
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Mrs Misevic said the decision to temporarily close the store is "one of the biggest decisions I've had to make" in terms of business.
Over the last few months customer intake has dropped by over 90 per cent, and when new staff were finally brought back in following the last outbreak, they just as quickly had to be sent home.
The proprietor says she feels like she's "living in the twilight zone", unable to make any plans for the future.
She worries that any plans for reopening could be done in vain if another outbreak occurs and the country is shut down.
The business is also ineligible for newly announced small business grants due to a technicality.
"Because I've been in business one month less than two years, I do not fit into the current criteria," Mrs Misevic said.
As part of the state government's COVID-19 business grant, businesses must be able to compare a two-week period of decline this year to June or July 2019, however, Mrs Misevic didn't open the store until August 2019.
"It's very black and white," she added.
At the end of the day, Mrs Misevic just wants to be able to reopen - and to have a bit of hope.
"It's not the grants I want, I want to work; I want my employees back," she said.
"I want the site open and I want it thriving, and I want to be able to show people around this region."
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