Last week I visited Hurstville restaurant owners and workers in Forest Road to talk about the effects of COVID 19 on their businesses and their lives during the last six months.
I expected I would run across angry, deflated and exhausted small business owners. Instead I met a group of people who were committed to using their entrepreneurial skills to keep their doors open during this worldwide health pandemic.
The owners of the Chilli Master restaurant in Forest Road were in a tough position last month. With ongoing employee expenses and overheads and a massively reduced clientele, they expected tough times ahead.
Instead they've keep their business open and turned their restaurant into an online businesses supplying wonderful, fresh produce to locals and out of towners alike.
They told me how tough it has been - you have to work out a completely different business model to compete and keep the doors open. It has been inspiring to watch and can I urge everyone to keep your local restaurants alive during this terrible period by ordering food online and patronising our wonderful coffee shops with takeaways.
The risk, debt, anxiety and stress associated with opening and sustaining a small business is all consuming for millions of Australians. As members of the St George community we all have a responsibility to try and help out local families by eating takeaway over the coming weeks so they'll be there for us when the crisis is over.
There has been some debate in the media over the last few weeks about whether we can choose the economy or lives when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The evidence from other countries is that this is a false choice. Where COVID-19 social restrictions are not followed and the disease is allowed to grow their economies are smashed regardless.
We really are all in this together. My great hope is that things turn around in the back half of this year, but until then, let's keep supporting our local food and beverage businesses.