How have our businesses fared during Covid-19?


Business during Covid - Sam and Maureen from the Rainbow Beach Tourist Info Centre

Sam and Maureen from the Rainbow Beach Tourist Info Centre

As we gently peek our head out into the world again it is important to remember that while some have enjoyed the peace and quiet of this most surreal time, some of our business owners have been hanging on by a thread and others are choosing not to reopen.

While we need our visitors here, now, we also need to acknowledge how this time has affected others.

Sam and Maureen Mitchell from the Rainbow Beach Tourist Information Centre and 7th Wave Surf Shop said: “We’re not going to lie, Covid-19 has been the most devastating thing to have happened to our business in 35 years. Simply overnight, and right before Easter, one of our busiest periods, our daily revenue fell by 90%.

“Yet the stock keeps coming in and the bills need to be paid. A tough time indeed and so unexpected.

“We’ve pivoted as best we could, quickly putting an online store in place, however, all businesses, even online businesses, take time to grow and you need to invest in marketing to make them successful.

“It’s not all doom and gloom though, we believe we can see light at the end of the tunnel with visitors slowly being allowed to return to visit us and we still have our health and each other so in many cases we are doing well!”

Business during Covid - Carolyn and Dave from the Rainbow Beach 4 x 4 Service

Carolyn and Dave from the Rainbow Beach 4 x 4 Service

Kerry and Linda Gash from Tin Can Bay Marine on Snapper Creek Road said: “We have had a rise in business as people were fishing, repairing boats and trailers and using outdoor power equipment in their yards.”

Rainbow Beach Service Centre said: “Sometimes living in Rainbow Beach is a bit like a bubble and while we knew Covid was real and out there, it didn’t really hit home until it’s impact came to our town.

“We’ve had two of our business forced to shut and the other two have suffered significantly.  While the decrease of sales is obviously a negative, our businesses have found a few positives in all this.

“Number one being locals! We cannot get over the support we have received from Rainbow Beach locals and their loyalty to our service centre – you guys truly keep us going!

“Number two is our staff. Our strong core group of staff have been amazing, facing these difficult times. We are all working together to put ourselves back together and be ready for when Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island reopen. Happy adventuring!”

Dee and Andy White own Cooloola Coast Realty and said: “The travel restrictions put in place by the Queensland Government on March 23 meant that all our holiday accommodation bookings had to be postponed or cancelled.

“This situation impacted hundreds of bookings and the whole town lost the Easter holiday income we would normally make. The team then spent a lot of time refunding guests or changing their holiday dates.

Business During Covid - Dee and Andy from Cooloola Coast Realty

Dee and Andy from Cooloola Coast Realty

“Our office remained operational throughout Covid-19 restrictions although we implemented some changes to keep our staff and customers safe. Our office front door was closed but we remained contactable via phone and email.

“Some of our permanent tenants needed rental relief as they had lost work or had reduced hours. We are very much looking forward to restrictions easing and welcoming visitors back to town.”

Kroppy from the Rainbow Beach Sports Club said: “This has definitely been the worst time of my business life. I’m just speechless about it. To lay 32 people off and tell them they have no more work whether they were work colleagues, friends, or whatever, it stops you in your day. Completely stops you.

“But what helped us through was the support of other small business owners – it’s not weak to speak. Nobody has ever been through this before – the GRC has nothing on this.

“But we are still here – it’s hard when you are letting people down but once I cleared my head and renovated, the positivity came back and we are already booking artists for the Country to the Beach and our Big Summer Blow Out and guess what – it will be bigger and better than ever.”

Member for Gympie, Tony Perrett, said “struggling Cooloola Coast businesses received little relief from eased restrictions on travel distances, camping, and access to National Parks.

“They’ve been hit hard, and it will be a long road to recovery. Residents have been terrific at adhering to rules; however, businesses are severely stressed.

Business during Covid - Kroppy from the Rainbow Beach Sports Club

Kroppy from the Rainbow Beach Sports Club

“Rainbow Beach businesses tell me they’ve experienced more than 90% decline in revenue, one reported a 97% decline. Those that completely closed would have received no income, a 100% decline.

“Its tourist-based economy which relies totally on the drive tourist market, missed the most rewarding Easter and long weekend periods.

“The only people who could go to Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove were those who already live there. The closure of camping and visits to the Great Sandy National Park and Cooloola Recreation Area reduces income sources for local businesses.

“Instead of waiting until the middle of June it makes sense to lift camping restrictions, which can be closely monitored by QPWS officers.”

A well written verse circulating says it best:

As businesses start to reopen, please understand that they have just survived one of the hardest professional and personal challenges they’ve ever faced. While they are excited to open, the owners and employees are still stressed. 

They are doing everything they can to adapt to the situation but everything is different for them – as a customer you’ll likely never understand what happened behind the scenes. Be kind, be compassionate and have patience. They are still trying to recover from battle number one, and their next battle of rebuilding has just begun. Support local.

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