Serious concerns for mental health and business viability have come with a tightening of cross-border travel.
From midnight on August 3, NSW bubble residents can only enter Victoria without a permit for paid or voluntary work, caring, necessary goods and services, vaccination, education, and sport and exercise - excluding Alpine resorts.
Border residents can't cross to see family in their homes (still banned in Victoria) or "go for a pub meal" - reminiscent of the 51-day suspension of 'daily life' crossings in the NSW closure.
Albury residents must apply for a permit to cross outside of the six reasons, or face a $5452 fine.
Albury mayor Kevin Mack called it "disgraceful" and "devastating".
"They have forbidden people from travelling both sides of the river for hospitality or other purposes - why have a bubble at all?" he said.
"This is the cheap (border) option, and I think they're relying upon our goodwill, which I still encourage ... but we have already lost one billion dollars in tourism money.
"Yet, they offer 50 grand here and 10 grand here for these businesses that are doing it hard."
Despite Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley flagging consultation occurred, Wodonga mayor Kevin Poulton received no forewarning.
"When media outlets in the city start calling me ... obviously something's changed, but nothing is in my emails," he said.
Five hours after the announcement, information for cross-border communities on the Victorian government's website was yet to be updated.
"You wouldn't think ... as we stand here, that you'd be still waiting on official communication," Cr Poulton said.
"We know the second they make an announcement, within several days they make a different one ... we stop still.
"Businesses in hospitality field cancellations left, right and centre.
"Zero cases for over 300 days, both sides of the river, and once again we wear the emotional and financial pain.
Cr Poulton urged residents to be vaccinated as "the only way forward and out of this".
"If anyone could find me the concise place to find the comprehensive vaccination data, so we do know how we're tracking as a community ... I'm sure we'd all have something to aspire towards," he said.
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