W Short Hotels has converted its pubs across NSW into convenience stores to weather the COVID-19 hospitality industry crisis.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday night that from midday on Monday, registered and licensed clubs, licensed premises in hotels and pubs, entertainment venues and cinemas, casinos and nightclubs would shut, along with cinemas, gyms and indoor sporting venues.
However, bottle shops, supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics and home delivery were all given the green light to continue operating.
The owner of W Short Hotels, Marty Short, is selling local produce and essential supplies to locals who are battling panic buying shortages.
He hopes the idea will help keep his staff employed during the difficult period.
“We’re working with butchers and bakers and other small business owners and we’ve even got some toilet paper,” Short told AAP on Monday.
“This is a chance for the community to support and buy local, and avoid the crowds and panic at the supermarkets.”
Short’s pubs – The Tudor Hotel in Redfern (above), The Royal Leichhardt, Seabreeze Beach Hotel at South West Rocks and the Toormina Hotel in Coffs Harbour – have been transformed into stores, with hand sanitiser stations and social distancing markers on the floor.
Short added to nine.com.au: “I thought, I can’t sell counter meals, can’t sell a draught beer, can’t pour somebody a vino, what am I going to do?
“I’m here to serve our community and we need them to help us stay here.”
The pubs will also offer pre-prepared meals to take home.