Clubs, pubs, cinemas shutdown has immediate impact in the Port Macquarie-Hastings

Be responsible: Publican Alistair Flower says the community needs to take responsibility for its action during the federal government's shutdown of non-essential services.
Be responsible: Publican Alistair Flower says the community needs to take responsibility for its action during the federal government's shutdown of non-essential services.

The federal government's shutdown of non-essential services has had an immediate impact on the Port Macquarie-Hastings community.

Businesses in the entertainment and licensed premises industry are among the hardest hit.

Licensed clubs have closed their doors while pubs are working on strategies to provide access to bottle shops or take away meals.

The Majestic Theatre in Port Macquarie and Laurieton's Plaza Theatre have both shut their doors.

Wauchope RSL Club secretary manager Graham Withers said the club's closure will impact its 39 permanent and part time staff.

"A lot of our staff are casuals and unfortunately they will not be receiving any pay," he said.

"We are talking to all staff and advising them how to access the federal government's stimulus package. And we will continue to talk with them on a regular basis too.

"We also want to reassure everyone that the club will bounce back from this once the virus is eradicated. But it is a matter of time.

"Wherever possible we will keep members updated through our Facebook page."

Majestic Cinemas' CEO Kieren Dell says up to 120 staff across its sites are now out of work while there are also impacts on the 30 permanent employees.

In Port Macquarie the closure will see about eight permanent staff and some 30 casuals impacted.

Mr Dell said his biggest concern was the health and safety of patrons and staff.

He also said that staff would be given advice on how to access part of the federal government's stimulus package information.

"We will of course honour leave entitlements and help staff who have to rely on the measures announced by the prime minister on Sunday night," he said.

"The stark reality is that without the government support we won't survive. At this stage, hopefully, it will see us through.

"Everyone needs to pitch in together and in most cases that is the spirit being shown by people."

Impacted: The Hastings Hotel will be impacted by the shutdown of clubs, pubs and cinemas across the Port Macquarie-Hastings.

Impacted: The Hastings Hotel will be impacted by the shutdown of clubs, pubs and cinemas across the Port Macquarie-Hastings.

While acknowledging "these are difficult decisions", Mr Dell said there was no choice for the business but to follow the government directive.

"We are negotiating with our banks and suppliers to work through this situation," he said.

"We are probably more impacted than clubs and pubs because our income is cut to zero as of today.

"But with government support we think we can see our way through to a reopening when that is permitted."

Laurieton"s Plaza Theatre also advised it was closed and urged people to "stay safe".

The Laurieton United Services Club also shut its doors and will "reopen when the government allows it", the club said.

"That could be between two weeks and six months," a club spokesperson said.

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Managing director of Flower Hotels Alistair Flower urged the community to take note of the government guidelines and to follow the instructions.

"Ultimately, some businesses and a lot of society are not really understanding the consequences of this process," he said.

"The community needs to really take note of the government guidelines so we can enjoy the services that are still available to us.

"Everyone has a part to play in beating this virus collectively."

Mr Flower urged people to be "socially responsible" and to "take accountability" for their actions.

"These are trying times but we are all rallying together," he added.

Mr Flower operates five businesses - including the Hastings Hotel - within the region with around 70 casual staff impacted.

He said staff were advised two weeks ago to be prepared for the potential shutdown. He would continue to be "transparent" with them, he added.

Mr Flower said now was a time for business to adapt and innovate and said his staff were also part of the process.

"We are in this together and we all have vested interests,' he said.

The bottle shop is continuing to operate while takeaway food will be still available, he said.

"These are really uncertain times but, ultimately, we have to change; hopefully the community will still support us," he added.