Venues will make a year since COVID closures with $5 beers and wines during National Local Day on March 23.
Venues will make a year since COVID closures with $5 beers and wines during National Local Day on March 23.

Mark a year since clubs closed down with $5 beer and wine

A year after pubs, hotels and clubs were forced to shut their doors due to COVID restrictions, the venues are marking the date with $5 beers and wines.

On National Local Day on Tuesday, March 23, Australians will be encouraged to shop at and support their local pubs, clubs, bars and hospitality venues in order to help the sector rebound.

One of the venues taking part on the event will be Cherry St Sports Club in Ballina.

They will be offering $5 lunch specials for members, $5 pints of any Tooheys product and $5 glasses of house wine.

General manager Tere Sheehan said the date was more than just a chance to get a cheap drink.

“We’d always planned to do some type of celebration, depending on what restrictions were in place, and since we are back to the 2 sqm rule now and we can stand up and have a drink, we though it was a good time to proceed with that idea,” he said.

“This is to show our appreciation to our members who came back and supported us when we reopened on June 1.

“We live and breath our community, and we have a phrase here which is ‘profit with a purpose’.”

Cherry St Sports Club general manager Tere Sheehan with staff member Brad Benson, in May 2020.
Cherry St Sports Club general manager Tere Sheehan with staff member Brad Benson, in May 2020.

Mr Sheehan said the team was able to stay employed via JobKeeper, and he set up his staff to make phone call to check on the well being of their members, offering take away meals delivered and keeping an eye on the most vulnerable or lonely.

“We made 7000 to 8000 phone calls in that seven-week period, done by four members of our team, so we went through our whole membership database and we followed up on some of them,” he said.

“JobKeeper enabled us to do that, and managers also kept in contact with the staff we had to let go before JobKeeper kicked in.

“It may sound corny but it’s true, this is not just a group of people who work here, this is a family.”

The manager was also happy to confirm all community donations, sponsorship deals and other benefits to the community were back n the table.

“When we closed, on March 23, 2020, nobody knew how long we were going to be closed for, so we have to suspend virtually everything, because we had zero income,” he said.

“We support around 20 sports clubs, plus a number of community not-for-profit organisations who meet here free of charge, they have all come back and we have confirmed our support to all of them,” he said.

“The home meal centre has been restarting with a $75,000 funding donation, plus our commitment to Our Kids is back to buy equipment to kids’ hospitals and transport for sick kids, so everything we can possibly do, we get behind because one day, one of our members, may need some of those services that we fund.”