Former Bachelor star Elora Murger was forced to close her Mooloolaba café, The Rusty Batch, on Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite opening just four months ago, she decided it was best for locals, her family and her mother visiting from France to cease trading for the time being.
The 29-year-old businesswoman told Daily Mail Australia she felt ‘at risk’ staying open because some customers didn’t appear to be taking COVID-19 seriously.
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‘I felt at risk being open’: Former Bachelor star Elora Murger (Pictured) was forced to close her Mooloolaba café, The Rusty Batch , on Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic
Elora rose to fame on Matthew Johnson’s season of The Bachelor in 2017 before appearing on Bachelor in Paradise in 2018 and 2019.
‘To be honest, a lot of them [customers] weren’t taking this seriously, unfortunately,’ she said.
‘This is why I feel like I’m at risk here, because a lot of people are saying, “Nah, it’s just a flu.” But now people are starting to really worry about it.’
She said the reality of coronavirus didn’t hit home for many locals until an event at Noosa restaurant Sails was linked to 30 confirmed cases.
‘My fiancé [Azriel Wratten] was saying,”It’s not real until it happens to someone close to you.” But I don’t think anyone should wait until it happens to them to do something about it.’
Familiar face: Elora rose to fame on Matthew Johnson’s season of The Bachelor in 2017 before appearing on Bachelor in Paradise in 2018 and 2019
‘We cannot risk exposing ourselves and taking it home’: Despite opening just four months ago, Elora decided it was best for locals and her family to cease trading for the time being
Blasé: ‘To be honest, a lot of customers weren’t taking this seriously, unfortunately,’ Elora said. ‘This is why I feel like I’m at risk here, because a lot of people are saying, “Nah, it’s just a flu”‘
The Australian government hasn’t yet forced restaurants and cafés to close, but they have been forced to shut their dining areas and can only offer takeaway.
These restrictions resulted in a 90 per cent drop in foot traffic and revenue for Elora’s café.
She said of her decision to close The Rusty Batch: ‘I felt like a bit of a hypocrite saying open as it’s almost allowing people to walk around.
‘I know that we all have to survive, but I think the government should be taking responsibility and forcing us to close down instead of staying open because somebody wants takeaway coffee.’
Taking action: Elora (pictured with her fiancé, Azriel Wratten) urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to consider a total lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve
She urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to consider a complete lockdown to limit the spread of coronavirus and flatten the curve.
While businesses are closed, she believes the government should offer financial support to business owners and enforce a moratorium on rent payments.
‘Everything should just go on standby. Because if someone is worried about how they’re going to pay their bills, they’re going to have to expose themselves to [COVID-19] just for the money, and it’s ridiculous,’ she said.
‘I think they should be taking responsibility and forcing us to close down’: Elora urged the government to consider forcing a complete lockdown, while ensuring business owners were suspended from maintaining their usual rent and bill payments to ease them through this troubling time. Pictured speaking with Daily Mail AU journalist Candice Jackson via a video call
‘They have enough money to help us out, so we shouldn’t have to feel obligated to stay open to survive,’ she added.
‘I think there’s no other way to go about it. It’s about prioritising what really matters.’
Elora doesn’t know when she will be able to re-open The Rusty Batch, and is worried about how long she can afford to stay closed for.
‘[Business owners] are exposing themselves to a risk to pay the bills’: The former reality TV star also said she didn’t know when they’d be able to re-open The Rusty Batch cafe, and was concerned about how long they could financially afford to stay closed for
As of midday Friday, there are 3,050 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, including 13 deaths.
It’s likely the government will soon enforce a ‘stage three lockdown’, which will result in the closure of some retail outlets, hairdressers and indoor and outdoor markets.
Victoria and New South Wales could also go into lockdown as early as this weekend if the crisis continues to deepen and Morrison’s restrictions don’t flatten the curve.
Pandemic: In Australia, as of Friday March 27, there were 3,050 reported cases of coronavirus, including 13 deaths