In early 2020, Julie and Jason Peacock were feeling relieved, if not slightly pleased with their situation.
Owners and operators of the Morvern Valley Farm Cottages in Bundanoon, the Peacocks had just endured the toughest conditions their business had ever faced after the Black Summer bushfires.
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Or so they thought.
Having just recovered from two month's worth of cancellations Morvern, which also offers a wide variety of farm activities, was thrown into further disarray when Covid-19 had its first Australian outbreak.
For Julie, it was nothing short of tragic.
"Our property was called out over the scanner in late January and we stayed and fought the fire on six different nights," Julie told the Southern Highland News.
"We lost every single booking from December 1 to January 28. We were then fully booked March, April, May and then tragedy struck within two months thanks to Covid."
While a lot of accommodation providers haven't guaranteed re-imbursement or automatic re-booking, Julie said they have continued to honour bookings despite the financial toll it has taken.
"It's been dreadful," she put simply.
"We had a cancellation policy which protected our guests. We would have been able to just refuse guests from the first Covid [lockdown] but we honoured everybody even then because we believe in doing the right thing.
"We've lost 40 bookings, each of our bookings was $990 or more. I'll give those customers time [to come down] when lockdowns end but that means I've lost my Christmas and school holiday income.
"The pain will continue well past lockdowns, in fact it will be double the pain because each guest needs to their booking replaced."
Julie said that while she and Jason were extremely grateful for their customers' understanding, she worries what will happen if the Greater Sydney lockdown was extended past August.
"I've had lovely chats with all of them which has been wonderful," she explained.
"Moving forward it is frightening that it might happen again. If it goes into the September school holidays I will lose my April school holidays  which is always the busiest holiday period for us."
'It's all gone pear-shaped'
Highlands residents will be familiar with the Grand Country Lodge as they pass through Mittagong.
The impressive structure had catered for weary travelers for years but has seen business drop off a cliff since the lockdown was announced at the end of June.
Peter Corby, who manages the hotel alongside wife Betty, said bookings had fallen dramatically after making a comeback earlier in the year.
"We've dropped from about 80 to 20 per cent," he told the News.
"March, April, May were excellent and then June was fairly solid as well but then it hit and from July on it's just gone pear-shaped."
Peter said even travelers who haven't come from Sydney have cancelled their accommodation.
"We get a lot of people coming down the coast on their way to Melbourne and a lot of people just won't travel through Sydney now even if they don't have to stop," he explained.
"There's a fear factor now and given this is something you can't touch, see or smell you have to be extremely cautious."
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