SOLDIER ON: Sue Hoffman must adapt to keep Warwick’s Gardens Galore’s doors open.
SOLDIER ON: Sue Hoffman must adapt to keep Warwick’s Gardens Galore’s doors open.

BIG CHANGES FOR SMALL BUSINESS: Cafes push through pandemic

THE Federal Government’s newest set of restrictions have dealt yet another blow to local businesses across Warwick and the Southern Downs, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave a directive that all non-essential interstate travel should be avoided, and that all non-essential services would be closed from midday on Monday.

The far-reaching closures include licenced areas of pubs and clubs, cinemas and entertainment venues, gyms and indoor sporting facilities. Additionally, all religious gatherings, weddings, and funerals must be held in very small groups and observe social distancing measures.

These severe restrictions have had a significant impact on local businesses across the country, and those in Warwick and the wider Southern Downs are no exception. Even restaurants and cafes, who can keep their doors open but only for takeaway or home delivery, are struggling to cope.

Sue Hoffman, owner at local cafe and nursery Warwick’s Gardens Galore, said while the business’ management team was still searching for a definite solution, overhauling the store’s business model seemed like the right place to start.

“As of midday (yesterday), the cafe will turn to takeaway only, so we might extend our trading hours a bit so people can pick up some takeaway later at night,” Mrs Hoffman said.

“All we can do is just try to keep our guys employed and keep them going, as well as the business. So, we have to adhere to the guidelines that have been put down nationwide for the safety of everyone while still providing our services, which is exactly what we’re doing.”

However, for Gabi Richmond, the venue manager at local restaurant The Malt House, said the loss of large functions, its popular rooftop space, and table-serviced meals would be difficult to recover from immediately.

“We can no longer trade upstairs or in the restaurant at all, and I feel for so many of the other businesses who can no longer trade. We’re still working out whether we’ll be able to,” Ms Richmond said.

“We are trying our best to be able to do takeaway meals, just to see how we go. We’re hoping if we stay busy we’ll be able to keep giving our staff decent hours, but we’ll see.”

“We’re definitely hoping we can get the support from our community. We’ve been through so many things, we’ll come out the other end okay.”

While they may be equally small local businesses, some other Warwick mainstays have been able to trade as usual due to being classed as an “essential service”. This included local grocers, Warwick’s Australia Post, and newsagencies.

Paul Hynes, owner of Hynes Newsagency, said he was grateful to be able to keep his doors open – for now.

“We’ve been listed as an essential service, so for now we’re fine, touch wood.”



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