The COVID-19 shutdown has been tough on businesses across the Moreton Bay Region, but we’ve found a few who’ve also seen it as chance to renovate. They’ll be ready to roll when passengers, guests and diners return.
In the meantime, they’re building, painting, cleaning and revamping in a bid to attract new business and welcome back loyal customers in the months ahead.
Greens are being recarpeted, lights updated and a big indoor/outdoor children’s area installed at this popular Bray Park club.
Operations manager Craig Lauman says the gaming floor and bar are also being renovated and the club is bringing back a big sports bar with beer garden attached. This will be a multi-purpose area that can be hired out for functions.
But the main focus is to make changes that will appeal to families, when the club reopens, with family-friendly spaces to eat and relax.
“When all the COVID-19 stuff hit, we had plans in the pipeline to do renovations, so the board decided to bring everything forward,” Craig says.
“We had planned to be finished at the start of July, but we’ve been able to fast track it.”
Renovating a club, while still trading, is difficult so being able to do it during the shutdown has been a positive during an otherwise challenging time.
“It’s looking great. We’re probably going to release some video footage and photos in the next couple of weeks,” Craig says.
The club will consider reopening in July, when stage three of the easing of restrictions is expected to be adopted across the state.
“They (the government) is focused on small business first, which is understandable, but it’s not viable to open for 10-20 people. We’ll have to look at 100, but we’re waiting for more clarity on what stage three will look like,” Craig explains
“Our staff have been fantastic. We’re just busting a gut to get open and get in there.”
The bottle shop is still open to members, paying via Eftpos, Wednesday to Friday from noon-6pm.
Evan and Cherry Dixon bought this Redcliffe bed and breakfast business at the end of January and had only been open for six weeks, when COVID-19 restrictions forced them to close.
“We were flat out for those six weeks,” Evan says. “We then had every booking from the end of March through to September cancelled. As events were cancelled, bookings were cancelled.”
It’s been tough, but the couple has used the shutdown period to roll up their sleeves and update the rooms.
“It’s on a low budget – painting and white-washing bedside tables and changing the look of the rooms to update them a bit, changing the linen that sort of thing,” Evan explains.
Because they’ve been closed, they’ve had time to do the work themselves and have even been able to call on their sons, 19 and 21, who came to stay when their employment became uncertain.
So, as the work continues, the family is counting down to the day when they can again welcome guests. Evan says they’ve been told they can start taking bookings from June 12.
In the meantime, with no income, they will continue to draw on their savings and healthy optimism about the future.
“We’re just hopeful and we know that once this is over, we will recoup and get back on track,” Cherry says.
“We’ve been trying to bring things up-to-date around here, so at the end of the day it’s a better product for when people come.
“Even though it’s been a hard time, it’s given us time to slow down and look at what we can do. Having the boys back here, it’s been good having them back here for the past two months. We’ve reconnected as a family.”
They’ve also had time to enjoy the place they love and have decided to call home, going for walks and taking in the view.
“We’ve got a positive outlook. Everybody is in the same situation,” Cherry says.
Lisa Edwards has been hard at work, sprucing up her Supercat ready for passengers next month.
In addition to the usual maintenance, sandblasting and servicing, Lisa’s been on the paintbrush.
“We want to make her look pretty,” she says laughing.
At this stage, she’s hoping to be back on the water with passengers in some capacity on June 28. It all depends on the containment of COVID-19 and the continued easing of restrictions.
“At the moment, we can go out on that day with limited numbers,” Lisa explains.
She’s passionate about showing locals and visitors the creatures who call Moreton Bay home and can’t wait to share that magic again.
It seems it’s not just the passengers who’ve missed the interaction. Lisa says the big Tangalooma dolphin pod enthusiastically greeted the boat, when it was out on a maintenance run recently.
“They know our boat and they have missed us so much. They popped their heads up and went, ‘Oh my god, its SuperCat’,” she says.
“They rode us (the bow of the boat) for 30 minutes.”
Dolphin Wild operates from Newport Marina and aims to be back in the water from June 28. For updates, head to the Facebook page and website. In the meantime, Lisa is urging everyone to support local businesses across the region, so they’re still there on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Staff and board members have put in an effort that would rival contestants on The Block during the past few weeks, freshening up the club – inside and out.
Marketing co-ordinator Kelly Rhoden says the kitchen’s had a fresh coat of paint, the deck’s been cleaned, and inside the club has been painted as have the sails on the roof.
The COVID-19 shutdown has given them the opportunity to get the job done, and carry out some deep cleaning as well.
Kelly hopes the work will be finished in the next week or so, but it’s already made a difference.
“It’s looking very good. The whole idea is to make it a bit lighter, let more natural light in and to brighten up the place,” Kelly says.
The club remains closed to dine-in customers and other activities, but is still serving takeaway from Wednesday to Sunday. The menu is available on the Facebook page. The club’s bottle shop is also still open.
Kelly says the board continues to monitor government advice and the easing of restrictions, but it’s unlikely the club will reopen until stage three in July.
“It could be earlier, but that’s up to the board,” she says.
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