Coastal councils are united in their message to Wimmera residents to stay away this Easter to protect their vulnerable residents from the spread of COVID-19.
South Australian destinations like Robe and Victor Harbor, and Victorian locations such as Torquay and Port Fairy, are favourite getaway spots for Wimmera people but the state of emergency restrictions mean all non-essential travel is prohibited.
The message comes as Ararat and Northern Grampians councils ask tourists to delay trips to the Grampians until coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Mayor of the Naracoorte Lucindale Council and Limestone Coast Local Government Association president Erika Vickery said councils were disappointed people couldn't visit but were in agreement about the importance of the restrictions for public health and safety.
"Look, we're really sad that people can't come and support our region at this time," she said.
"(Regardless) if people are coming interstate into South Australia they will be required to self-isolate for two weeks, regardless of whether their homes are here or not."
Cr Vickery said that meant if people did decide to travel to their holiday house in the region they wouldn't be allowed to go out for a takeaway coffee or take a walk on the beach.
"(Self-isolating) means you have to be self-sufficient - you can't go to the supermarket to get anything," she said. "I think that's the strongest message that we'd like to put out.
"We'd love for people to defer their holidays and certainly come over to our Limestone Coast region when we're all able to travel again."
Cr Vickey said the Limestone Coast had a significant number of residents who were considered vulnerable to coronavirus.
"We do have a typically higher population of older people and we just want to protect everybody in this crisis," she said.
"Regional areas typically have limited health services, so we don't want to overburden them."
Cr Vickery said a number of tourist attractions, including the Naracoorte caves, had also been closed due to the pandemic.
Our hospital is not equipped to cope with large influxes of people, and our shops are already under pressure servicing local residents- Dr Moira Jenkins, City of Victor Harbor mayor
City of Victor Harbor mayor Moira Jenkins said the area had one of the oldest populations in the country, making the community highly vulnerable.
"While we normally love to welcome visitors to our city, current circumstances are far from normal and the safety of our local residents is the council's number one priority," she said.
"Our hospital is not equipped to cope with large influxes of people, and our shops are already under pressure servicing local residents.
"We are asking visitors to re-consider their travel plans and please stay home."
Dr Jenkins said non-resident ratepayers coming to stay in holiday homes would be obliged to follow the same social distancing rules as everyone else but would need to self-isolate for two weeks after crossing the South Australian border.
"The atmosphere in Victor Harbor this Easter is not going to be what it has been in previous years," she said. "All scheduled events have been cancelled and our playgrounds are closed."
Dr Jenkins said Victor Harbor had been growing in popularity as a holiday destination for many people from western Victoria.
She said there would be an opportunity for people to visit in the future.
"The area has been a focus for our tourism marketing in the past," she said. "We have had staff visit western Victoria to promote Victor Harbor and all we have to offer.
"We will welcome our visitors back with open arms when we get through this pandemic - and we will get through this."
A spokeswoman from the Surf Coast Council, which covers the Barwon south-west region of Victoria from Torquay to Lorne, said both permanent and part-time residents were being urged to stay home.
"Surf Coast Shire has limited medical services and a small number of hospitals, without intensive care units," she said.
"Any positive coronavirus case at our GP clinics and hospitals can result in a doctor or nurse having to remove themselves from these workplaces, putting great strain on what are already very small workforces.
"Also, if anyone gets seriously sick while in the Surf Coast Shire, they may find that they can't get adequate help here, but may not be able to return to their usual area, potentially leaving them stranded in another larger hospital away from family and friends.
"At any other time, Surf Coast Shire Council and communities welcome and value our visitors and non-permanent residents, but for the reasons outlined above we are asking everyone to avoid travel between residences and consider not coming to their holiday homes in coming weeks.
"Let's stay at home and keep everyone safe."
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