Community rallies: Douglas businesses are still open

SUPPORT LOCAL

Karlie Brady

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Cafe Fresq are giving away toilet paper for those who really need it. (L-R) Aoife Conway, Nikkaya Williams, Beau Gutheridge, and Natalie Mayer. Image: Karlie Brady.
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While the world is facing unprecedented uncertainty due to COVID-19, one message is being shouted loud and clear amongst Douglas business owners; “we are open for business.”

With 80 per cent of the Shire’s economy reliant on tourism, it is fair to say many small businesses are worried at the current state of global events, so it has never been more important than ever to shop local.

Douglas Chamber of Commerce President, Liz Ross, said when times get tough our community needs to rally together.

“We're all in this together, and together, we will get through these uncharted waters. We urge you to get informed, to read all the latest information and resources available on our website, which will be updated as more accurate and timely information comes to hand,” she said.

Through their social media pages, the Chamber is urging everyone to stick together creating #getstickydouglas and is encouraging local businesses to stick use it on their socials so that they can re-share it to promote local specials, offers, and business updates.

Support local

Local businesses are all doing their bit to support one another and keep the town beating.

Café Fresq in Port Douglas has decided to give back to the community’s unsung heroes, those who work in essential industries like hospitals, pharmacy’s and supermarkets who have to keep working regardless, by offering them a free cup of coffee today.

“We are trying to give back to the community if we can because we get so much support from locals,” owner Aoife Conway said.

“Everyone is fearing for the future like us and we just want to do our bit and we are staying open until such time as it is not safe to do so. We have put new measures in place, we have removed some tables to give extra space, providing hand sanitiser and are sanitising like mad, and we are also providing takeaway.

“I hope everyone can remain positive. We need to all stick together because at the end of the day if a business goes under that is staff without a job and it’s a knock-on effect for everybody. I think that there are enough locals around; $4 for a cup of coffee can keep someone in a job,” she said.

And, if you need some emergency toilet paper you can also try your luck at Café Fresq who are giving it away to those who need it.

Mocka’s Pies & Bakehouse owner, Nigel Quinn, is also urging the community to support local business with plenty of bread and pies baked daily.

“All our pies are available partially baked and can be taken home and kept in your fridge or freezer for an easy meal. Just add some salad or veggies. Beef, chicken, tuna, seafood, crocodile or kangaroo. There is plenty to choose from,” he said.

At Salsa Bar & Grill they are introducing a new takeaway menu for the first time ever to enable those who feel more comfortable staying in, to still get their Salsa fix.

“In this currently crazy world, our focus is to keep things as normal as possible by staying positive, support locals and remaining optimistic,” Salsa Bar & Grill’s marketing manager, Jess Uhlig said.

“We have taken extra measures to ensure our environment is as safe as possible for our customers and staff and Salsa Bar & Grill will stay ‘business as usual’ as long as we can.

“And to those down south, the only Corona up here is the beer in our fridge,” she said.

On the retail side, Tshinta Port Douglas’ Holly and Sue Williams said they are still open and can even get outfits delivered to you.

“We are still here putting together pretty outfits and spreading the good vibes seven days a week,” Holly said.

“And remember we still give 10 per cent off for locals, so shop local.”

Sue added that if people can’t get into the shop, they are happy to still help out.

“We can Facetime and help them pick an outfit and get it delivered,” she said.

Tourism bodies working on it

Chief Executive Officer at Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD), Tara Bennett, said the region’s tourism bodies are working hard to get the industry through this difficult time and build a recovery plan for when it’s all over.

“The tumultuous times in tourism continue as the containment of COVID-19 remains in question and its impact on inbound and domestic visitation causes great concern,” she said.

“I know operators are feeling the pressure right now and I can assure you that, not only TPDD but our colleagues at Tourism Tropical North QLD (TTNQ), Tourism and Events QLD and of course Tourism Australia, are working tirelessly to implement plans to deliver a strong recovery to our sector.

“We have been heartened to see additional funding released at the federal and state levels to raise the destination’s profile over the coming months and roll out activities to help the tourism sectors resilience going forward.

“At present TPDD is finalising the design of Discover Paradise for release along the East Coast on March 28; undertaking co-operative advertising with Jetstar Magazine, Tropical North Queensland magazine and Great Destination Weddings for coming months; developing regional activity with the Daintree Marketing Co-operative and trade messaging for our partners once lockdowns have passed; developing drive market content with TTNQ promoting the Great Barrier Reef Drive experience; while our regional television advertisement continues to run through North Queensland supported by digital activity.

“In the short to medium term our activities will target domestic travellers with a long-term message for the inbound market which I’m confident will rebound later this year,” Ms Bennett said.


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