TEMPORARY CLOSURE: Marto entertaining at Ferns Hideaway before coronavirus restrictions took hold. Pictures: Contributed
TEMPORARY CLOSURE: Marto entertaining at Ferns Hideaway before coronavirus restrictions took hold. Pictures: Contributed

Capricorn Coast tourism operators down but not out

CAPRICORN Coast tourism operators have been proactive during the COVID-19 social distancing and isolation restrictions that have seen many businesses close their doors for an undetermined frame of time.

Rather than sit about and worry, many businesses have been using their closure time to revamp, rejuvenate and freshen up their facilities to come out fresher and better when they finally reopen their doors for business.

In a bid to retain as many staff as possible and ensure the resort is looking better than ever when they reopen, Great Keppel Hideaway have been attending to maintenance and renovations, so the resort is looking cleaner and fresher than it has in years.

 

Genevieve and John ‘Marto’ Martin have closed Ferns Hideaway Resort amid the coronavirus travel restrictions.
Genevieve and John ‘Marto’ Martin have closed Ferns Hideaway Resort amid the coronavirus travel restrictions.

 

GKI Hideaway manager Kelly Harris said maintenance jobs such as sanding and revarnishing the floors in the bistro take over a week to complete and have been impossible to get done due to the previously steady flow of visitors and guests.

"We have been very busy getting the floors done, painting cabins and rejuvenating the gardens in readiness of when we are given the all clear to reopen," Mr Harris said.

"We lost about 50 per cent of our staff but have managed to keep about 95 per cent of our full-time staff and a few of our travellers who opted to stay on when the doors were closed.

"We are very excited to reopen the resort giving people a fresh new look.

"We closed our doors just before Easter and have been working flat out since then to rejuvenate as much as we can while we have the time available.

"Times are very tough for everyone and we hope the government will allow us to trade in some capacity in the next month so we can all get back on our feet."

Ferns Hideaway owners Marto and Genevieve Martin are also using their time wisely while their business is closed to the public.

"We are repairing lots of things we need to do but rarely have time to address such as our access roads, painting, footpaths, beautifying the gardens and doing general maintenance on all our assets," Marto said.

"We have installed new tennis net, are spring cleaning the cabins and repairing pathways

"We can't wait to welcome everyone back."

Genevieve said the couple's guests were their family and they were doing the spring clean in readiness to welcome them back.

"Charity starts at home and when this is all done, we hope the community will get behind our local business community and enjoy all the amazing places and activities we have on offer," she said.

"Many people are worse off than us and we greatly appreciate that we live in an amazing supportive community.

"We can't wait to welcome everyone back."

Freedom Fastcats operator Max Allen Junior said they have pulled all their boats out of the water to do maintenance that will freshen everything up and ensure all their equipment will be running in a more eco friendly way with less drag which means less fuel.

"We are in the process of doing up all our glass bottom boats up and doing updates right across our fleet, paying attention to all the finer details" Mr Allen said.

"We are also updating our on-land facilities.

"With all the maintenance and upgrades we have more outgoing expenditure at the moment but once we hit the water again, we will have much higher standards and will be able to get stuck into what we do well.

"We have listened to people's suggestions in terms of improving our boats and are doing all those jobs that are difficult to do while we are fully operational.

"We are hoping we can be back in business by June if restrictions are lifted and people are going to be impressed by what they find.

"Right now, with less traffic the islands are pristine, there is barely a footprint to be found.

"This break has really cut the carbon matter down and had a positive impact on the environment.

"We will be focused on local trade when all this over with a new approach to how we do business.

"Initially we lost 10 of our staff when we were forced to shut down, we have since rehired four of those people and as business builds, we hope to get back up to our full staffing levels as soon as possible."



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