Time to move on from COVID

Emma Hartigan, Tanunda Bakery and Café shop assistant and Mrs Elke Trinkle, owner.

Now that we’re all vaccinated, from a business perspective, it’s time to move on, suggests Mrs Elke Trinkle, Tanunda Bakery and Café owner when speaking to The Leader in recent days about the emergence of the Omicron variant to COVID. 

Mrs Elke Trinkle said the Government’s approach to Omicron is “slowly killing businesses” and she hopes for change.

“The Government will kill businesses if they keep doing what they’re doing, and we’ll be seeing many small and family businesses shutting down because they don’t have the staff,” she said.

“From what we’ve been told, Omicron isn’t that severe anyway, so I think it’s time for the Government to start treating it like the flu so all businesses can provide what they can at their greatest potential.”

Mrs Trinkle said the bakery saw a decline in sales over the Christmas break.

“This time last year, we were much busier than we are now,” she said.

“A lot of people are scared because all it takes is one positive case to shut a whole place down.

“We’ve been lucky so far but we don’t know what’s around the corner because it’s spreading like wildfire.”

Mr Chris Linden, Vine Inn Barossa Community Hotel, Nuriootpa, C.E.O., described the COVID-19 wave as a “vicious cycle” and said luckily, the business remained strong.

“We’ve seen a decline in food, drink and occupancy sales, but that’s also SA Health’s doing, as I’ve gone from being able to host 1,052 people to only 350,” he said.

“Even with the limitation requirements, I’ve noticed people are still a bit anxious to leave the house, especially the elderly.

“So, we haven’t been reaching the 350 mark anyway.”

Mr Linden said the hotel has struggled to support the community. 

“We haven’t been doing any charity raffles that we’d usually do under normal circumstances because we can only fit 350 people in our bar and dining area,” he said.

“There’s no point because there aren’t enough people around to make it viable for the people who should help charities.”

Meanwhile, Mr Linden said growth in the hotel’s retail was “enormous”.

“Our bottle shop numbers have gone up, and that’s because lots of people are staying home drinking,” he said.

“What we’ve lost on one side, we’ve gained on another.

“Our take-away meals haven’t been anywhere near as popular as they were during our lockdowns, but we’re still doing them.”

Mr Linden said he looks forward to when the hotel can host big functions again soon.

“We can’t have big functions like birthday parties and weddings because we don’t have the capacity and people don’t want to wear masks,” he said.

“People want to dance and sing, and unfortunately, we can’t.

“We haven’t had live entertainment for a while because we can’t pay $450 for someone to play music for a crowd of 25 people, as there’s no return.”

Mr Linden remains positive that the hotel can survive another COVID wave and said his staff had been “incredible”.

“No one has been stood down and I will not do that,” he said.

“We can spread the workload evenly between our people so everyone gets an opportunity to have an
income.

“They’ve all been very understanding and I’ve been very lucky in that regard.”

Mr Hemang Patel, 40s Café, Angaston  owner, suspended the café’s dine-in services last week, due to a shortage of staff, however remained open for take-away services.

“Although we were short on staff due to isolation requirements, I didn’t want to close down completely,” he said.

“We still had enough staff working to manage take-away services so that’s what we did.

“I would hate to close down and have my workers not receive their wage.

“It’s important we keep our staff on and provide our services to the community.”

Mr Hemang said he hopes to see everything go back to normal soon.

“We’ve had a lot of support during this challenging time, but we can’t wait to go back to our normal trading hours and invite people back into our café,” he
said.

Mr Travis Schiller, The Barossa Pharmacist, Nuriootpa, pharmacist, said the new wave has increased the staff’s workload without increasing the number of sales.

“With all the different announcements happening around vaccinations, booster shots and rapid antigen tests, we’ve had a significant increase in phone enquiries,” he said.

“The request for deliveries has increased also.

“Our drive through service has also been popular, which is great.

“People park their car in the carpark, ring the bell and we pick up their scripts. 

“This helps keep the community safe, particularly our clientele – the vulnerable and elderly.”

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