Miles pub owner reveals when venue will re-open
NO BEERS have been served, no gaming has taken place and no pool, darts or cards have been played at the Hotel Australia in Miles for almost two months, and it continues to sit empty for the meantime.
Despite the announcement made by Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk last week stating pubs and restaurants in the state will be open to seat ten customers at a time, pub owner Tracey Gillon doesn’t think it’s financially viable and won’t be reopening her doors.
“I do understand what the government is doing regarding the ten people at a time, but it’s just not suited for the Hotel Australia because our pub is so big,” she said.
“We have a front bar, back bar, massive outdoor dining room, and to switch everything back on for ten people, it’s just not economically viable.”
“On the other side of it, we have so many locals who drink there all the time, and I don’t want to pick ten of them.
“I want them all to come in and have a beer, so I just don’t think it is for us.”
Ms Gillon said deciding to close their doors at the end of March due to the coronavirus restrictions, was one of the hardest decisions she had to make.
However, she did what she had to to survive.
“We turned everything off, and the beer cold room is the only thing. It’s gone into hibernation,” Ms Gillon said.
“Because it’s not opened our insurance is down $2500 a month.”
“I do miss it, and it’s a strange feeling, not seeing anybody.
“Even being in the pub is different, it’s just got no feeling, and it’s the customers that do make it that’s for sure.”
Fortunately, one thing the owner can hold onto is the fact she has kept all staff by retraining them to work at her sister business, the Swagsman Motor Inn, despite fewer hours.
“We’ve put the full-timers on holidays which has allowed hours to be allocated to the casual staff,” she said.
“I’ve got them together four times over the last seven weeks since it’s all happened for their mental health.
“It’s helped them a lot to know they are not on their own and we are all in this together.”
Ms Gillon said the pub looks forward to trading again and seeing people have a beer, meal and a yarn soon.
If everything goes right in the next month, she said she is hoping the Australian will open in stage two of restrictions easing.
“We will look at opening for 20 people,” she said.
“I am also hoping they will look at extending what you can do at the pub.”
As for now, takeaway meals will still be available from the Swagsman and on Saturday that dining room will be open for ten people.
Her thoughts go out to other small businesses, hoping they can survive the too can survive the easing of restrictions.
“The aim of the game is to survive it, and it will be good,” she said.
“I want all businesses to survive.
“When restrictions come in as they have now, businesses are going to find it hard to stay afloat.
“They are going to be doing only 30 per cent of what they should be doing, and that’s when it’s going to hit many people, unfortunately.”