The tough start to the year just got a whole lot tougher with the COVID-19 virus spreading at a frightening pace throughout the world, with health authorities and governments scrambling to keep up. All health considerations aside, serious as they are, it’s also an extremely difficult time for any businesses associated with travel, entertainment and hospitality. Those businesses and the people they employ can’t just ‘work from home’ and are looking down the barrel at some pretty trying times ahead while the travel industry is on its knees with cancellations of holidays and events left right and centre.
In terms of businesses, it may be a case of the survival of the most adaptable as well as the fittest. While it’s a bit tricky to adhere to the very sensible principles of social distancing while at the same time supporting some of the suffering businesses about, here’s a list of things you can do in Canberra to play by the guidelines and maybe give some needed financial support to those who need it.
For those further afield, I’ve included a couple of orgs which are pulling together national lists. If you let me know what you’re doing in your neck of the woods, I might just pull together one of those as well and we can all go mad sharing the love.
Postpone, don’t cancel
While the situation is ever-evolving, consider postponing travel or event plans rather than cancelling. If you have a choice, accept a credit for cancelled travel or event rather than getting a direct refund. That will help those businesses manage cash flow issues which are critical to staying afloat and you get to take a holiday at another time.
Buy a voucher
You may not be able to get out to eat at a restaurant just now, but if you’re looking for a present for someone special consider buying vouchers for restaurants, cafes or little getaways that can be used later during the year. That will give the suppliers a little immediate and needed cash flow.
Drink local wines or brews
If you can’t get to the vineyards, maybe order in some local wine stocks or other brews to help you last the distance. Lots of wineries are offering special deals and free delivery as incentives, like Lake George Winery
Dine in, or take away
If you can’t get out to a restaurant, maybe order in instead. Lots of restaurants and cafes are introducing innovative ways to help out diners in trying times.
The new funky Rebel Rebel restaurant in the city recently announced on social media they’re upping their cleanliness and hygiene to extreme levels and are also offering their entire restaurant menu online. (In fact, thanks Rebel Rebel for their post which gave me the idea for putting together this listing.) Just order online and they’ll run it out to your car. You can also order from their wine menu at takeaway prices. You can find the menu here: rebelrebeldining.com.au
The Copper Dragon Tavern at Greenway is also offering their entire food menu as take away. You can see the menu at thecopperdragon.com.au and order by phone. They’re currently working on an online ordering system.
In Yarralumla, Lambshed’s is being super vigilant with hygiene as well and are also allowing diners to pick up items from their menu to eat at home and will home deliver to Yarralumla and surrounds. I saw them SHOUTING ABOUT IT ON ONE OF THEIR INSTA POSTS.
If you’re still out and about The Mill Cafe in Queanbeyan is doing takeaway containers of pasta to heat up at home, different ones each day for $5 each, and they may do larger sizes with deliveries soon. They also have some stock of precious loo paper for those who truly need it, but don’t be a dick and take advantage of them being nice.
Order food online
Supermarkets may be crazy in a few places (hopefully the panic will abate pretty soon) but lots of foodie places are delivering straight to your door.
Urban Providore which specialises in artisan food products has an easy online ordering system and you can order baskets of food delights for others or for yourself. They’re still doing deliveries and orders over $150 are freight free.
Visit Canberra’s Handmade Markets online
After 12 years of continuous markets, Canberra’s Handmade Markets made the decision to cancel their market planned for this coming weekend and are taking their design and food online instead. The virtual market will be live from 10am Saturday 21 March to 4 Pm on Sunday, 22 March with reat discounts on offer, live updates and giveaways and great prizes to be won as you ‘wander’ the aisles of the ‘markets’ and the wares of around 200 traders online. Winning: you don’t have to miss out on the gorgeous things and they don’t have to miss out on an important part of their trading year.
Keep busy reading
If you haven’t got a stack of books already ready for some binge reading, there are a few options. Most bookshops are still open although that’s a situation that may change. Canty’s Bookshop in Fyshwick is still open for binge buying while monitoring the situation closely. While they’ve decided not to do deliveries by skateboards, they are providing some good doses of humour along the way.
A couple of lovely ladies I know had to cancel their planned 3-act book launch last weekend of three kids/YA books so instead they dropped by Harry Hartog’s Bookstore in Woden and dropped off signed copies and goodie bags instead, so you can just pretend you went.
Get outside and enjoy the sun
Social distancing and self-isolation don’t exclude you from getting outdoors and getting some fresh air. It may not help support businesses in a big way, but it’ll be good for your body and your soul, especially if you’re going stir crazy cooped in with small children. A couple of outdoorsy suggestions for Canberrans:
- Explore the National Botanic Gardens – lots of pathways to wander and hidden nooks and crannies to discover
- Discover the rose gardens at Old Parliament House – they’re in full bloom at the moment and are worthy of a leisurely stroll
- Climb up some of Canberra’s hills for a great view of the city – Red Hill, Mt Taylor, Mt Ainslie, take your pick.
- Visit Tidbinbilla Nature Park now that some areas have been opened again to the public after the recent fires. You can go for a walk up the Birrigai Time Trial, have a picnic, or discover local history at Rock Valley Homestead.
Other lists for around the country
The suggestions above focus firmly on Canberra businesses and happenings but there are similar listings for other areas as well.
- Gourmet Traveller magazine has put together a list on their website of restaurants and cafes all over Australia who are looking at doing things differently and they are constantly updating the list.
- TimeOut in Sydney is now focussing on TimeIn in Sydney There are some very inventive people around the country, and I’m sure they’d really appreciate some support right about now.
What else is happening in Canberra to cope?
If your business is doing something innovative or different to meet the demands of this challenge, or you know of some, do let me know so I can add them to the list.
Let’s share this information and do what we can to help each other get through as best we can while still being calm and cautious.
And everyone – stop hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitiser!!