Melbourne clothing store owner defies lockdown rules and risks a $10,000 fine by reopening - and enjoys his busiest two days in 15 years with overwhelming community support
A small business owner who reopened his clothing store despite the risk of fines in has urged others to do the same after overwhelming support from the community.
Harry Hutchinson runs a menswear store called 'Harry's Clothing' in Berwick in Melbourne's southeast.
哈里·哈钦森(Harry Hutchinson)在墨尔本东南部的贝里克经营着一家名为“哈里的衣服”(Harry‘s Clothing)的男装店。
The 68-year-old announced on Monday he was at his wits end and was reopening his store despite the risk of a $10,000 fine for breaking lockdown rules.
The decision has proved to be profitable so far, with Mr Hutchinson telling Daily Mail Australia his stock has been flying off the shelves.
'It's been the busiest two days in 15 years,' he said.
'The support has been enormous.'
Mr Hutchinson said he has been inundated with customers since he decided to open his doors and implored other businesses to follow suit.
'I think all small businesses should open up. There's safety in numbers. This should have happened a week ago,' he said.
'If you don't open up, chances are you will not open. Each week is another month that you'll go broke.
'We're not breaking the law. We just want to do our business.'
Stage four restrictions in Melbourne were flagged to be fully lifted by October 19 beforePremier Andrews on Sunday extended the State of Emergency and State of Disaster, keeping businesses closed for another four weeks.
Mr Hutchinson said he has been living off JobKeeper payments andhis savings in lockdownand believed the time was now for the state to open up.
'I don't want to be on JobKeeper or government support. I want my own income,' he said.
'Lockdown has gone on for too long. We need to be opening up the state.'
The threat of a fine became very real for Mr Hutchinson on Wednesday, with Victoria Police attending his store and threatening him with a $9,994 fine for opening his store.
But Mr Hutchinson wasn't fussed, saying he was staying open for the livelihood of his business into the future.
'That's notstopping me. If I didn't open my business would have closed for good at the end of October,' he said.
'This business has been my life and I'm not going to see it disappear.'
Mr Hutchinson's pledge to open drew outrage from Mr Andrews' supporters on social media, with the small business owner bombarded with one star reviews in the wake of his announcement.
The community rallied behind the business, flooding his site with positive reviews and praise on Wednesday for standing up for what he believed in.
'A person who isn't afraid to fight for his and our rights. An alpha in a world full of betas. Highly recommend. Well done Harry,' one review reads.
Mr Hutchinson said his store reopening had inspired others in Berwick to open their doors and he urged others to follow suit.
'This year has been a disaster,' he said. 'Theonly way to recover is to get back to work.'