Share the good news stories, cheer on the collaboration, applaud the kindness.
They might be social distancing, but Surf Coast businesses are working more collaboratively and innovatively than ever before.
Flexing, sharing, supporting, striving, encouraging - going above and beyond to meet their customer's needs.
We are all in this together. #StrongerTogether
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Flattening the curves COVID style
After weeks of finding new and creative ways to stay fit, there was much anticipation and excitement amongst Surf Coast exercise enthusiasts in the lead up to gyms and other health and fitness venues re-opening last week.
In the COVID-enforced break, they’ve certainly been doing their bit to offset the reduction of inconsequential movement and easy access to the fridge, that has come with work-from-home arrangements. Businesses have creatively kept their members engaged and motivated towards their health and wellness goals with online classes, special in-home challenges, healthy recipe sharing, etc.
But with this sector now permitted to have up to 20 patrons, the timing couldn’t be better, as the colder weather approaching traditionally increases the appeal of the indoor workout. Of course, the return of members has presented some challenges to business owners who must adapt to the way things are done in order to meet COVID-19 safety requirements.
Cheers to our local venues!
Keen to get back into your favourite venue for a social drink? The wait is over for small gatherings under Victoria’s latest round of restriction updates, which came into play earlier this week.
Surf Coast restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs are now able to serve alcohol to up to 20 seated customers without food, as long as they adhere to the patrons-per-space rules. This is great news for local venues such as Mr Archer Wine Bar in Torquay North, Great Ocean Road Gin in Aireys Inlet and Bells Beach Brewery in Torquay, who are super keen to welcome patrons back into their venues.
These businesses have shown stamina and patience and have kept themselves ticking away thanks to online, takeaway and delivery offerings throughout the lockdown.
As Mr Archer Wine Bar owner Simon Burriss says: “We all just have to be mindful of the rules and if we follow them, things will get better and less complicated sooner. When we re-open from July 8, we will be doing our best to make it feel like there are no restrictions.”
Lots to love about Lorne for school holiday activities
With school holidays almost here, our region offers a wealth of options for families to both escape their homes and help our local businesses, all without having to listen to your kids incessantly asking “are we there yet?”.
Lorne is a fantastic place to factor into any plans for holiday adventures, with a great variety of natural attractions and outdoor activities in and around the town, to go with its enticing range of cafes, restaurants and specialty shops.
From the stunning beaches and headlands up into the beautiful hills and forests, there is a multitude of walking and hiking opportunities for short strolls, longer treks and everything in between, all ideal for tiring out active young and older bodies surrounded by the space, fresh air and splendour of nature.
Aireys Inlet Market thrives in virtual setting
FOR many stallholders at Aireys Inlet Market, the move to an online market has been surprisingly fruitful.
Normally, the Aireys Inlet Market is held once a month in and around the Aireys Inlet Community Hall.
For many stallholders, the market is the only place they sell their goods, meaning the coronavirus pandemic threatened to bring a temporary hiatus to their sales. But the virtual market has allowed them with a new outlet, and offered the community continued access to local produce they trust.
Market organiser Libby Stapleton said the stallholders varied greatly in terms of their presence outside of the market.
“It’s really mixed. There’s definitely some who operate at other markets, particularly the food stallholders. But for a lot of the arts and crafts, it is their main site.
Sports competitions can return, more people in bars and restaurants as coronavirus restrictions ease again
THE state government has announced a continued easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and the big winners are community sport, restaurants, and bars.
Over-18-year-old sporting comps will be allowed to resume full training from July 13 and competition can get started from July 20.
Meanwhile from Monday, June 22, indoor sports centres and places like gyms will be able to take up to 20 people per space, with groups limited to 10 people for over 18s in fitness classes and the like.
Restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs will be able to take up to 50 seated guests, and you can drink without having to buy a meal.
Cinemas, concert venues, theatres and auditoriums can also reopen, again with a 50 people limit. Libraries, community centres and halls will be able to open to 50 people and religious ceremonies can also increase to 50.
Buy Surf Coast: The only constant is change
Like many of us, our local businesses have gone through an extremely challenging time, both professionally and personally. And in many cases, their battle is far from over.
They’re doing everything they can to adapt, but it will take time for them to really find their rhythm again.
By working together and being careful, we can all enjoy life’s simple pleasures: a meal out with friends, browsing your favourite shop, a spa pamper treatment.
The gradual easing of state government restrictions means more local businesses are now back up and running, including Saltair Spas.
Saltair Spa manager Rachel said that after several weeks of closure, its Torquay Day Spa and Health Spa were now open for business.
“We’re just as excited as our clients to be back and offering our full range of treatments again. The phone has been ringing constantly – many of our regulars have a little bit of catching up to do.”
Lorne businesses unite to attract visitors
LORNE businesses have come together through the Lorne Business and Tourism Association (LBTA) to help the township’s tourism sector recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The revitalisation of the Love Lorne initiative has been a major part of their efforts to make Lorne the preferred location for people to enjoy their newfound freedoms.
LBTA treasurer and Live Wire Park director Luke Nesbitt describes Love Lorne as “the face of Lorne”.
Mr Nesbitt said Love Lorne had been doing a lot since lockdown restrictions eased to attract visitors.
“We’ve been working in conjunction with the Lorne Business and Tourism Association along with the Committee for Lorne to basically come up with a COVID-19 economic recovery campaign, which is basically aimed at pushing Lorne as being front of mind for people when people can travel."
Tourists return to the Surf Coast
ACCOMMODATION providers across the Surf Coast were encouraged by how many people chose the region as their getaway destination for the long weekend, although it is still some way off business as usual.
Lorne enjoyed a particularly strong influx in tourists.
Cumberland Lorne Resort general manager Richard Blackley said the long weekend was indicative of the rapid change in business they had experienced since coronavirus restrictions eased.
“This weekend, with the long weekend we’re full, which is great, and school holidays are looking solid.
“As soon as restrictions were eased our phones started ringing. We’re still getting quite a bit of bookings coming every day.”
However, Mr Blackley did note “conferencing won’t be anything that we’ll be doing anytime soon”.
Lorne Hotel owner and operator Paul Upham also reported a fruitful long weekend.
“We were fully booked on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.”
Venture beyond the coast this long weekend
A drive through the beautiful Surf Coast hinterland will reward you with picture-perfect rural landscapes where you can clear your mind and take in the rolling green hills and wide open spaces.
Not to mention the many hinterland businesses that are ready to serve up food and drink that will warm your soul.
The Store Deans Marsh Owner Dale Allender said his friendly staff could not wait to welcome back locals and visitors.
“We’ve missed our customers and plan to have plenty of our popular homemade pies, steak sandwiches and pulled pork rolls ready across the long weekend. It’s the perfect fare for this time of the year,” Dale said.
Venture to Winchelsea to immerse yourself in the lush surrounds of the beautiful Barwon River. There’s a new pathway loop along the river, part of a bigger council project that will soon include a new pedestrian bridge as well as boardwalk under the iconic bluestone bridge. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a platypus.
Hospitality industry welcomes back patrons
ON MONDAY this week, cafes, restaurants and pubs across the Surf Coast opened their doors to customers for the first time since March.
The venues are presently limited to 20 patrons per enclosed space. This is set to increase to 50 on June 22, and 100 in mid-July.
There are also rigorous protocols re-opening venues have to follow, such as steps to maintain social distancing and taking down the details of all incoming patrons to help with contact tracing if anyone tests positive for the virus.
Bomboras Torquay co-owner Tom McGrath said the venue was well equipped to meet social distancing demands.
“It’s very spacious inside. We can have 17 people inside the restaurant, 10 people on our enclosed deck area, and we’ve put a marquee up out the front; we can fit another 18 people in that.”
Accommodation providers reopen as restrictions ease
ON MONDAY this week, accommodation providers across the Surf Coast welcomed new guests for the first time in several weeks.
Overnight stays are now permitted, albeit with some restrictions, including the prohibited use of communal facilities.
Surf Coast Holiday Rentals owner David Muir said the sudden change in restrictions had been a pleasant surprise.
“Things changed with the flick of a switch on Sunday morning (May 24) when the Premier announced overnight stays can resume as of June 1.
“It took us by surprise with the short lead time, because most other decisions they were allowing two, maybe three weeks from the decision being made, to reignition.
Mr Muir said the abrupt change had been made even more dramatic by people’s eagerness to capitalise on their new freedom.
Buy Surf Coast: Keeping us all well as restrictions ease
Keeping everybody safe and well is foremost in the minds of Surf Coast hospitality businesses as they prepare to take the next step in the region’s recovery thanks to the easing of restrictions from Monday, June 1.
Everyone is urged to play their part so that we can all enjoy the simple pleasure of going out for a meal.
As Jan Juc’s popular Swell Café owner Scott Pond said: “Please just play it safe – if we all do this properly, it’s manageable. We have all received clear guidelines in regards to our hygiene and distancing, so if people actually do it, we’ll be okay. The last thing anybody wants is to go backwards.”
As of Monday, cafes, restaurants and hotels that offer food will be allowed to have up to 20 customers per enclosed space, as long as physical distancing requirements and a number of other safety precautions (such as extra cleaning and staff health screening) are met.
Please keep buying local
Like many small business owners across our region, Aireys Inlet restaurant owner Vera Fagone has had to completely change the way her business operates under the state’s coronavirus restrictions.
But thanks to locals supporting the Buy Surf Coast campaign and the federal government’s Jobkeeper program, Vera has been able to keep her popular Little Feast restaurant open and is continuing to employ her four staff.
Along with wanting to let the community know how grateful she and her staff are for their support, Vera has a simple important message for us all, echoed by many other Surf Coast business owners: “Please be patient and keep buying local,” she said.
Changes in restrictions offer respite to tourism industry
THE recent easing of lockdown restrictions will see tourism industry start recovering from the financial hardships of the coronavirus.
On Sunday, the Victorian Government announced that from June 1, cafes, bars and pubs would be allowed to welcome up to 20 patrons at a time for meals per enclosed space, albeit subject to social distancing requirements. This is set to be increased to 50 patrons on June 22, and 100 by mid-July.
Ms Price, Great Ocean Road Tourism General Manager, said that as the situation had become clearer, GORT had been able to plan ahead.
“We’re sticking to the message ‘If you can stay at home, stay at home’. When people can come and stay, we will embark on our next stage of marketing.
“We’re going to target first the visiting friends and relative market. We’ll work with the local community to invite their friends and relatives to come back here to visit this part of the region. We think that’s the market that will be most responsive.”
Pubs, cafes and restaurants to start re-opening from June 1
CAFES, pubs and restaurants in Victoria will re-open their doors to serve meals to up to 20 customers from the start of June under the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions.
In a statement just issued by Premier Daniel Andrews, this could increase to up to 50 patrons by June 22 and up to 100 patrons by the second half of July.
Mr Andrews said the timelines announced this morning were reliant on “Victorians continuing to get tested when they show even mild symptoms and on those tests continuing to show low numbers of positive cases around the state”.
Rave reviews for take-away and home delivered meals
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all others,” said Cicero, an ancient Roman lawyer and philosopher.
Despite all the challenges of the coronavirus, many local food businesses across the Surf Coast Shire quickly adapted to the “new normal” of the past two months, providing our communities with a wealth of choice in high quality, good value takeaway and delivered foods.
With expectations being consistently met and regularly exceeded, our residents have felt compelled to respond with an abundance of thanks for their efforts. Social media pages have been flooded with rave reviews from locals thrilled with their meals, wanting to share inspirational photos of all sorts of culinary delights.
Café El Nido’s manager Marisa Natoli has been “blown away” by the positive response from the community.
“We have been working hard to provide our valued customers with an abundance of affordable and delicious food. We want to keep our customers happy and safe, and keep our business viable at the same time,” she said.
“We have been really delighted by the outpouring of support, and it has buoyed everyone’s morale to receive their messages of gratitude.”
Surf Coast’s entrepreneurs take to the mic in new podcast
A TORQUAY couple who lost their jobs at the end of March have founded a podcast that spotlights local entrepreneurs.
The Surf Coast Creatives podcast will today (Thursday, May 14) launch the first of its weekly episodes on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and iHeartRadio, with host Ben Hucker interviewing Al and Imogen Roberts from Freshwater Creek furniture design business Al + Imo Handmade for the pilot.
But Mr Hucker said the decision to broadcast conversations with successful businesspeople who have built their brands from the ground up was a no-brainer.
“Every second person I meet on the Surf Coast has some sort of hobby or side interest going on.
During this challenging time our most-loved local restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs need our help more than ever! #LocalNightIn is a campaign that encourages everyone to enjoy a safe, local night in while supporting those places you know and love.
#LocalNightIn showcases venues still providing takeaway and delivery options across Australia. Use the national listing to find local dining options that are open in your area and purchase a meal to help them through these tough times.
On 29-31 May we’re inviting you to join us on social for the #LocalNightIn Festival! Share a snap of your dine-in experience and tag #LocalNightIn to show your support for your favourite local venues and spread the word that Australia’s local restaurants are still open for business.
Read more www.localnightin.com.au
#BuySurfCoast this Mother's Day
Surf Coast Shire businesses are ready to help you spoil your mum for Mother’s Day. You mightn’t be able to take her out on Sunday – or you mightn’t even be able to see your mum in person – but with a bit of creative planning you can still make her day special and support local businesses at the same time.
Let’s start with food. With a plethora of take away and delivery options on offer, it’s easy to bring mum’s favorite restaurant to her table. Surf Coast businesses are planning their menus specifically with mums in mind, with breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner packages available.
One gift that always hits the sweet spot is chocolate. The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery will be delivering their decadent array of Mother’s Day chocolates to the doorsteps of lucky local mums. Imagine their excitement when the colourful chocolaterie van pulls up out front.
If you’d like to treat your mum to a bit of pampering to say thanks for all she does, you can easily organise an in-house spa experience. Day spas throughout the Surf Coast Shire are delivering indulgent Mother’s Day packages containing all the ingredients needed for a luxurious home pamper session.
#BuySurfCoast this Mothers’ Day – Mum will be delighted!
Locals embrace take-away and delivery meal options
Not sure what to have for dinner? Scroll through the ‘Surfcoast Takeaway & Delivery Options’ Facebook group and you’ll find plenty of mouth-watering inspiration.
As soon as the social distancing restrictions came into effect, Torquay’s Laura Knight jumped straight onto Facebook and set up this group in support of local businesses that the Surf Coast Shire community has embraced.
It allows people to find and share information and photos as well as offer recommendations about local businesses providing takeaway and delivery options.
Created just over a month ago, the group now has more than 2,900 members, with regular updates of specials and other information.
Read more Surf Coast Times story 30 April 2020 on Page 11....
Supporting Local Business with free social distancing floor decals
Torquay-based business DBM Signs is using their expertise to help the community stay safe during coronavirus by offering free floor decals for local businesses.
With more than 30 years’ experience DBM Signs, who specialise in signage and digital printing, has been busy providing signage and stickers for medical centres, hospitals and chemists and owner Darryl Bailie-Mace said he saw an opportunity to help the community.
“I saw how the government’s restrictions were hitting our local businesses and thought the sooner we can get past this the better for everyone,” he said.
“I felt that providing floor decals was something we could do to help contribute to local businesses and the community at this time to help reinforce social distancing guidelines, keep staff and customers at safe working distances, while helping businesses control customer queues and lines, and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Read more Surf Coast Times story....
Paying it forward; local businesses helping each other
Throughout the pandemic, there have been so many heart-warming stories of people helping out others, and the same is to be said for our local business community.
The impacts on businesses have been unprecedented, with many feeling as though their world has been turned upside down. Freshwater Creek garlic was one of those businesses who could see their sales being hit hard by the closure of some of the local markets.
Owner Sarah Olliff said that when the restrictions came into place, she knew they had to quickly adapt the way their business sold their produce but felt she didn't have all the skills or experience to make those changes.
Sarah found a Facebook post from Brenden Read of eBusiness Ready offering to help local businesses to boost their online services. Sarah and Brendan worked together to build Freshwater Creek garlic an online store.
Read more Surf Coast Times story 23rd April 2020 on page 9....
Surf Coast Arts Trail to go virtual
Artists participating in this year’s Surf Coast Arts Trail will showcase their work virtually in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Surf Coast Shire council has announced.
Steering away from its usual format of a one-weekend event in August, this year’s trail will take a new direction through a series of smaller events which will be spaced out over several weeks.
The first installment is set to be staged in June, with events to include interactive classes, workshops, virtual studio tours, performances and discussions.
Daily grind changes shape for Torquay baristas
As Australian cafes stop accepting reusable cups in a move to prevent transmission of coronavirus, a Surf Coast coffee roastery is working hard to maintain its commitment to reducing waste.
Ocean Grind’s Mark Clatworthy axed disposable cups in August of last year and said he and his team were implementing new strategies, including reducing the cost of its HuskeeCup system, to ensure this change was not undone during the pandemic.
Shop Locally and help Surf Coast Shire's small businesses
Surf Coast businesses are continuing to adapt to the necessary self-isolation due to coronavirus, by offering “no contact” takeaway and home delivered goods, as well as online services. They are promoting the new ways they are doing business on the Buy Surf Coast – www.buysurfcoast.com.au website.
Set up two weeks ago by Surf Coast Shire Council, the new website’s main aims are to help small local businesses keep their doors open and to make it easy for local residents to find out about their services.
A new virtual market for the Surf Coast
It’s so great to see businesses and groups thinking outside the box and coming up with creative ways to keep operating during the pandemic. Here’s an idea that is particularly clever!
The organisers of the much loved Aireys Inlet Market have been quick to adapt by creating a virtual market. Surf Coast locals can now access many of their favourite market stalls online.
Bringing together local food producers, arts, crafts, gourmet take-home meals, wine, homewares, fashion, gifts and more, the virtual market will ensure the community can continue to access many of their favourite stalls throughout the region, even though all upcoming markets at Aireys Inlet have been postponed due to Covid-19.
Read more Aireys Inlet Market.
Winchelsea works #StrongerTogether
The Winchelsea community has really pulled together to support one another in these difficult times. Local business and community groups have been quick to find new ways to adapt during the pandemic so that they can continue to provide much-needed services for residents. Here are a few terrific examples:
The Winchelsea Health Club has been posting daily ‘exercise at home’ activities on Facebook, which have been really popular. As well as keeping locals active, they are also keeping people connected.
For parents and carers with pre-school age children, Mainly Music Winchelsea has adapted their long-running program to now be available online. The sessions are a great way for families to connect with one another. To get involved call 0407 838 256.
Winchelsea IGA is now offering delivery and ‘click and collect’ services. All you need to do is email your order to email@example.com (or call 5267 2676 if you don’t have internet access) to arrange pick up the next morning or delivery.
Keep up the good work Winchelsea! #StrongerTogether
Bookstore shows generosity in trying times
Lorne Beach Books responded to troubling times with generosity last week, gifting Easter sticker books to children to help lift their spirits.
Lorne Beach Books owner Meryl Barak said she did not want the store’s temporary closure to stop any young readers from enjoying the books.
Good one Gentle Annie!
With the Deans Marsh store closing indefinitely, Gentle Annie Berry Gardens has answered the needs of the Deans Marsh and surrounding community. Stepping up to become the central pick up point for local fresh produce, they have hastily extended their produce store. On offer are basic supplies such as; milk, butter, eggs, fruit, vegetables, flour, sugar etc, as well as delicious heat and serve meals created from fresh local produce. Gentle Annie is keen to include more local producers and encourages the community to enjoy the scenic drive to their gardens to buy local. #StrongerTogether
Anglesea traders ask community to shop local
Businesses in Anglesea are encouraging residents in the town to shop local and keep traders ticking over during the coronavirus pandemic.
Corinne Nigro from Anglesea News and Lotto said several businesses in Anglesea had adapted and continued to adapt to deliver goods and services to the local community in a healthy and timely manner. “Anglesea retailers, as all Surf Coast retailers, appreciate the continued support from the local community.”
Local businesses go online to survive COVID-19
As we know, the last three weeks have seen a drastic change in our economic and social environments due to Covid-19, and the way we do business has changed for so many businesses, with the potential to never be the same again.
Surf Coast eateries go kerbside
As Surf Coast restaurateurs switch cutlery and plates for takeaway utensils and containers in response to government-ordered closures because of the coronavirus, services have been adapted to give locals the dining out experience from the comfort of their homes. Read more Surf Coast Times story....
Shared care: Surf Coast medical minds join forces
New Media Partnership
We have partnered with the Surf Coast Times to gather and share all the good news stories across the Surf Coast.
Every week, we will publish #BuySurfCoast stories promoting local businesses in the Surf Coast Times. If you want to share any of these stories, click on the link and share directly from the Surf Coast Times website. That's just another way you can support a local business.