TOUGH TIMES: Keppel Bay sailing Club CEO Julie Strudwick, Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll are calling for everyone to support local business and local jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 situation.
TOUGH TIMES: Keppel Bay sailing Club CEO Julie Strudwick, Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll are calling for everyone to support local business and local jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 situation.

Plea to shop local now more than ever

IN A DESPERATE plea to community, Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry is asking people to shop locally in a bid to keep small businesses open and local people in jobs in the wake of the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy.

“We have a lot of local businesses who are already feeling the pinch, so we all need to all work together, stay local, shop local, forget the internet and support local job,” Ms Landry said.

“The reality is if some of our small businesses close, they may not have the capacity to reopen.

“We all need to still put food on the table so my advice is be sensible, be mindful of washing your hands frequently, don’t touch your face and if you are unwell please seek medical assistance and stay home so you lower the risk of infecting others.”

Ms Landry said the worst thing we can do right now is get caught up in the hype.

“I ask that people do not panic, look after each other including those who are most vulnerable in our community,” she said.

“This coronavirus will have a detrimental effect on all of us if we don’t look after each other, be sensible and please be considerate.

“We have some of the best health professionals in the world and we have acted early to minimise the impact of the COVID-19.”

With four venues across the Capricorn Coast, Keppel Bay Sailing Club have already seen a drop of 20-30% in trade over the past two weeks and they expect that number to drop further.

KBSC CEO Julie Strudwick said people are scared and just not coming out as much to enjoy a meal or catch up with friends for a coffee.

“I’m very concerned for our 150 staff. Without the trade we cannot sustain keeping people at work so we are now looking at what we can do to keep our staff employed until this situation is over,” Ms Strudwick said.

“The reality is, if people stop coming to our venues, other cafes, restaurants and small businesses across the region, we will be unable to sustain the current levels of staffing and that will impact the entire local economy.”

Ms Strudwick said the club has had meetings with QLD Health Director of Environmental Health Paul Florian who has directed the four venues on safe practices until the coronavirus issue is over.

“We are moving every second table out of our venues to create more space so people will still feel safe to come and enjoy a meal with friends,” Ms Strudwick said.

“Every table is thoroughly cleansed after use and staff have been well versed on the importance of personal space at this point in time.

“We have now set up a take-away meal option where people can order by phone or online and we will deliver to your door.”

Likewise, the tourism sector is being bombarded with cancellations in every sector.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said people are now realising just how important tourism and visitor numbers are to the local economy.

“The global influence on our local tourism market across all sectors is being impacted,” she said.

“Since the Federal Government stepped up and took immediate steps to minimise the impact of the virus, we have seen hundreds if not thousands of room nights cancelled.

“Both Federal and State Governments have put measures in place to assist our small operators such as interest free loans of up to $500,000 and the $17.6 million stimulus package but there are things we can do on a local level.

“I encourage people to ask your tourist operators if you can ‘pay now, stay later’ to keep money generating through these businesses.

“There are many options for small tours and more intimate experiences that people can enjoy. Buy your coffee and enjoy drinking it down on the beach in the open air.

“In our region we love our open spaces so please encourage everyone you know to take advantage of that and holiday here in seclusion with a trip to the likes of Pumpkin Island, Ferns Hideaway and the many other options available.

“Tourism in our region is generally not crowded so please do continue to enjoy what we have on offer.

“This is likely to impact our region for 6-18 months, so we all need to support each other by keeping our small businesses alive and well.”



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