‘It hurts every business in town’: Restaurant owner in coronavirus-hit Batemans Bay hits out at ‘disgusting’ locals for trying to drive tourists out of the area because of COVID-19 fearsThe owner of a popular seafood restaurant has slammed locals in Batemans BayHe said some residents have been telling tourists to stay away from the town The Batemans Bay community is now at the centre of a new coronavirus cluster
The owner of a popular seafood restaurant in a New South Wales community facing a growing coronavirus cluster has pleaded with locals to not blame tourists – the lifeblood of the town.
Jacob Crooke posted the powerful video message to Facebook slamming locals for telling tourists to stay out.
Mr Crooke said JJ’s at the Marina will be closed for the next 14 days as a precaution after eight COVID-19 cases were traced to the nearby Soldier Club, and another infection was linked to a lolly shop 15 minutes away in Mogo.
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Jacob Crooke (pictured) posted the powerful video message to Facebook slamming locals for telling out-of-towners to stay out
The Batemans Bay seafood restaurant JJ’s at the Marina (pictured) is owned by Jacob Cooke
‘The situation at the moment, it hurts,’ he says in the emotional video.
‘It’s not just us, it’s every business in town. It’s the whole south coast now. But in Batemans Bay we seem to be at the forefront of negativity.
‘I just want to remind everyone we are a tourist based town and, yes, we are situated between Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
‘We have all these people come through our town. They dine in our town and come to our town.’
He warned locals that without visitors coming through the seaside community famous for its oysters, most businesses could not survive.
‘I think it is absolutely terrible that some people think other people can’t travel around,’ Mr Crooke said.
Without visitors coming through the seaside community famous for its oysters, most businesses could not survive, Mr Crooke said
‘People are scared. Everyone is worried,’ Mr Crook said. ‘Everyone is self-isolating. Everyone is either waiting on a test or knows somebody being tested
JJ’s at the Marina will be shut for 14 days as a precaution after eight COVID-19 cases were traced to the nearby Soldier Club, and another infection was linked to a lolly shop 15 minutes away in Mogo
‘It’s no local’s right to tell people to get out of our town. It is a disgusting way of thinking.
‘Without them I don’t have a business. I know half a dozen friends with businesses in town who wouldn’t survive without tourists. Everyone has to realise that.’
The local business owner also took aim at a small percentage of diners who had verbally abused him in recent weeks, after being turned away in accordance with social distancing restrictions.
Mr Crook told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday that after posting the video online, he has been inundated with messages of support.
The small town with a population of 11,000 is still recovering from the unprecedented summer bushfire crisis which devastated large parts of the NSW South Coast.
Mr Crook said it was all too eerie that the location where the bushfire evacuation centre was set up in January is in the same place where the COVID-19 testing facility has been erected.
‘People are scared. Everyone is worried, especially people who know someone with immunity problems,’ he said.
‘Everyone is self-isolating. Everyone is either waiting on a test or knows somebody being tested.
Although tensions toward tourists have been growing, he clarified that those calling for visitors to stay away were in the minority.
‘It is not the majority of people. It is only a small number of people who have spoken out against tourists,’ Mr Crooke said.
‘When you are constantly bombarded with tourists you can sometimes understand where people are coming from.
‘But we need to band together as a community and come up with plans and positive ways of thinking to try and get people to continue to come later on.’
NSW recorded 13 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday bringing the total number of cases to 3588 including 49 deaths.
There are 86 COVID-19 cases still active in the state.
Mr Crook told Daily Mail Australia that after posting the video online, he has been inundated with messages of support
Pictured: The stunning view inside JJ’s at the Marina, famous for its oysters and fresh seafood
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