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Struggling business owner in Melbourne bracing for $10,000 fine after opening store

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, a desperate Melbourne business owner is facing a $10,000 fine after opening up his struggling clothing shop.

On Wednesday, Victoria Police visited Harry Hutchinson’s Berwick menswear store after he decided that it was time to open his doors with “nothing left”.

On Tuesday, Hutchinson started running his shop, saying he was prepared to risk the penalty.

“I’m at the point where I don’t care,” he said.

Hutchinson said that if he didn’t open it, he would ask the bank to borrow more money by the end of the month.

He allowed six customers into his store at a time.

He says he “certainly won’t” pay it if police issue a fine, saying he’ll be one of the 96 percent of the Victorians who have copped heavy fines yet to produce the cash.

“There are thousands of (struggling businesses) and we’re all in the same boat,” Hutchinson said.

“The whole state’s held to ransom for 20 people who have this virus.

“The longer we’re all shut down and not earning our income… it’s demoralising.

“I’m not representing Harry’s clothing, I’m representing all small businesses that are in lockdown.”

Hutchinson says he’s been blown away by the public’s support, with some offering up to $ 1,000 for any COVID fines he receive.

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