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Gippslanders can still explore their region and support local jobs despite the coronavirus travel restrictions imposed on Melbourne, according to local MP Darren Chester.

Fresh from a ‘staycation’ of his own during the school holidays, Mr Chester said it was critically important to support local jobs during the pandemic and in the aftermath of the summer bushfires.

“The current rules allow for local businesses to remain open with appropriate physical distancing rules and the provision of hand sanitiser and other measures to protect public health,” Mr Chester said.

“As I travelled around Gippsland over the past 10 days on a family staycation, I was impressed with how seriously our local business owners in the hospitality sector are taking the current situation.

“They want to stay open and they want to keep employing locals and every business I visited was doing the right thing to help get us through these challenging times.

“The news that ski lift operations have been suspended at Mount Hotham until at least mid-August will be another setback for businesses, particularly those in Omeo, which are part of the snow industry or enjoy a boost in trade from people heading to the mountains.

“By putting locals first, we can all support local jobs. It’s still okay for locals to visit coffee shops, pubs, hairdressers, retail outlets and other service providers under the current rules.

“We all need to keep practising social distancing and excellent hand hygiene to protect ourselves and those we love.”

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