Kyabram Free Press

Hurley’s faces wait to resume full trading

- By Myles Peterson

Despite lockdown lifting on September 9, Kyabram is still waiting for the popular Hurley's Bar and Bistro Hotel on Allan St to resume taking walk-in patrons.

Under the roadmap unveiled by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday a return to normalised opening for venues such as Hurley’s is still some way off. By next Sunday, Hurley's and other venues may be able to accommodat­e 20 patrons. Currently they are permitted just 10 indoors.

However, it may not be until November, and the projected 80 per cent double-dose vaccinatio­n rate for eligible people is reached, that life will return to relative normality.

Even then, those who have not been vaccinated will be ineligible to visit hospitalit­y venues according to Victorian Government plans also unveiled on Sunday that may see the merging of QR code and Medicare vaccinatio­n records into a single app used to police attendance.

Hurley's owner Brenton Sheppard thanked the community for supporting the pub’s takeaway service through the latest bout of restrictio­ns and lamented it was just not feasible to resume opening to a mere 10 customers.

“I don't think (the rules were) designed for pubs and hotels to be open at this point in time,” he said.

Nor was it feasible to open the beer garden. “At this time of year when it gets cold at night it's not a great position to be sitting out eating and what not. And even if I did maximise the patronage out there and the 10 in here, I just don't think it's viable,” he said.

The rules had not only cost the community one of its favourite watering holes but has also significan­tly impacted the business.

“Our sales, year on year, are down $550,000 at this time,” Mr Sheppard said.

Staff were also feeling the pinch, he said, with casuals losing shifts and a skeleton staff brought in to cover the little business they could conduct.

But the silver lining was the level of community support his business had received.

According to Mr Sheppard, many locals had gone out of their way to purchase takeaway meals and alcohol, and plenty who had stepped up to help in myriad ways, including delivery.

“It's a fantastic community. They rally around each other when the chips are down. I'd like to think we've seen a lot of that in the last 18 months,” he said.

“My landlord's been really good. Without that support we wouldn't be here. I've had friends and businesses support me in doing deliveries.”

Government grants had also been important in getting through the past 18 months, according to Mr Sheppard.

“The government grants have been really good, largely state but also federal in the early days. They've kept us above water really, certainly can't complain about that,” he said.

 ??  ?? Tough times: Hurley’s Bar and Bistro Hotel’s Brenton Sheppard thanked Kyabram residents for their support during a difficult 18 months for the business.
Tough times: Hurley’s Bar and Bistro Hotel’s Brenton Sheppard thanked Kyabram residents for their support during a difficult 18 months for the business.

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