Fight to survive after new virus restrictions
It is a frightening time for bars and restaurants with COVID-19 plunging the future of many local businesses into unprecedented uncertainty.
At midday on Monday, venues around the region closed their on-site dining options and became takeaway or delivery only.
Several Katanning venues are adapting and offering takeaway services for the first time to keep some money coming in.
After Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement on Sunday that a raft of businesses would be forced to close, social media was flooded with local business owners sharing their thoughts as they reduced or suspended services.
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Royal Exchange Hotel manager Sanne Cocker said her staff were devastated when they heard the new ruling.
“We knew the closing would be coming soon when the gathering limits came in, but (we were) shocked by how quickly things escalated,” she said.
“We have a pretty solid drive-through bottle shop and take-away food trade already, so this was an easy transition.
“But I’m unsure what the future holds. We’re just playing it day by day at this stage.
“I imagine a lot of small businesses will be hard pressed to come back after this. We will have to move to skeleton staff.
“At this stage we still have a bit of work to do clearing all stock out of the bar and shut down.”
Federal Hotel owner Shirley Buss has had to lay off two casual staff.
On Sunday night, after the news broke of the restrictions, those who were in the pub enjoyed one final drink in a sombre atmosphere.
She said she was worried about the future of the pub, when and if it opens again.
“It is a huge part of your income gone,” she said.
“Business started slowing down the last week as things have got more serious.
“We still have accommodation and the bottle shop, but we are as good as closed.
“You worry about opening again, and about staff without jobs. The longer the doors are closed the harder it will be to reopen.”
The food service inside the pub is a separate business which will continue to serve takeaway meals.
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