Cafe culture takes a hit as new rules enforced
FOR Hervey Bay's vibrant cafe scene, the impact of new COVID-19 restrictions was immediate.
The Prime Minister's announcement yesterday that all cafes and restaurants had to move to a takeaway only model meant business owners like Vinvero's Espresso's Elvin Bong had to cut hours back.
Mr Bong told the Chronicle he had decided to close his Scarness cafe at 10am today after offering a coffee only service from 6am.
He said he had a "tough conversation" with his staff to determine the minimum hours they all needed to get by.
"Most of them have families and I have a family too, so I can't just close down," Mr Bong said.
"We normally do breakfast but not many people want takeaway breakfast so I have had to make changes to the menu."
He said he had acted proactively to offset losses by cutting hours to reduce overheads.
Mr Bong said the government's stimulus package for small businesses would help the shop survive.
He said he supported the government's decision to impose tougher restrictions on eateries as he felt members of the public were not listening to advice about social distancing.
Customers were flouting restrictions in the cafe he said, so he understood why the government felt the only option was to close dining areas in an effort to reduce coronavirus risks.
At nearby Retro Espresso, manager Joe Harrison had similar thoughts.
He said members of the public did not seem to be taking social distancing advice very seriously.
The hole-in-the-wall cafe has always offered takeaway only so the new restrictions would not overly impact business, he said.
Their main change, he said, had been refusing to accept reusable coffee cups, in the interests of public hygiene.
Further along the Esplanade, Eat at Dan and Steph's owners Dan and Steph Mulheron announced a "sudden temporary closure" this morning.
"We will not be doing takeaway or delivery as it's not viable to do so and is still is a risk to everyone," a Facebook post read.
"We think we all just need to stay home to get through this quicker.
"We will look after our staff in many ways."
Enzo's on the Beach at Scarness announced it would stay open, offering takeaway.
"Please note that this is a new process we have set in place and we ask that you have patience as we work through any issues and be understanding that we may have to make further changes and updates over the coming days," a Facebook post read.