With the closure of Cobar’s pubs and clubs this week more than 60 locals are set to lose their jobs.
From midday on Monday all pubs, clubs, restaurants, casinos, cinemas and indoor sporting venues (including gyms) across the country shut down indefinitely after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new raft of unprecedented restrictions on non-essential gatherings in a bid to slow the rapid spread of Coronavirus.
The closures will see 23 staff at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club lose their jobs, 20 will be affected at the Empire Hotel, 12 will be put off at the Services Club, 10 jobs are in jeopardy at the Great Western Hotel and seven jobs will be lost at the Grand Hotel which has had to close completely as they don’t have an off-licence.
Cindy Bryan from the Empire Hotel said they were not surprised at the speed of the decision to close.
“We were keeping updated on what was happening and were preparing for the decision to be handed down,” Mrs Bryan said.
She said patrons had been ignoring social distancing rules and trying to enforce it had not been effective.
“The new regulations will affect every single one of our 20 local staff members as we reduce our services to strictly takeaway meals and the bottleshop,” Mrs Bryan said.
Cobar Services Club secretary manager Linda Carter said they were briefed last Friday with a broadcast from Clubs Australia.
“I was still surprised at the speed of the Government’s decision to close,” Mrs Carter said.
“We did extra cleaning and cancelled functions but were still able to continue with the weekly meat raffles. Patrons were abiding by the social distancing.
“We have 12 casual staff who will be affected by the closure and insurance doesn’t cover loss of trade,” she said.
The club’s restaurant will stay open for take-away meals only.
Dave Portelli from the Great Western Hotel said while they did foresee forced closures coming after media reports about people ignoring social distancing laws (particularly on Bondi Beach and dance parties), they thought the high risk city regions would be targeted first.
Dave said they will have to make the hard decision to reduce their staff numbers in order to stay viable.
“We have lost the bar and poker machines leaving the bistro (take away) and motel as our lifeline to get through to post-Corona.
“That may or may not be enough to survive.”