‘Still open, still trading’: Business plea as virus spreads
"WE'RE open for business".
That's the message Fraser Coast businesses have for shoppers in the face of a potential economic downturn from coronavirus.
With the state economy facing a $2.5 billion wipeout, Hervey Bay's Chamber of Commerce boss says buying local will be the only way to save the region's communities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
No confirmed cases of the virus have been reported on the Fraser Coast yet.
Because of this, Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president Sandra Holebrook says the region is yet to face some of the business impacts head-on.
"It's like a tsunami, we can see the wave coming and it's about to crash, but no-one knows what to do in the aftermath," Ms Holebrook told the Chronicle.
"We're a heartbeat away from becoming equal to what everyone in regional Australia is facing."
Ms Holebrook said businesses needed to be optimistic, but cautious about the potential economic impacts of the virus.
While shops are bracing for potential downturns in the coming months, most say there have been no changes over the past week.
Hervey Bay RSL boss Jason Lynch said they were still open for business and were taking extra steps in their hygiene practices.
"It's a natural progression with the emphasis on personal hygiene," Mr Lynch said.
"So we're making our venue more hygienic with extra cleaning of our tables and chairs and wiping down any touchpoints.
Mr Lynch said he hadn't seen much of a decline in foot traffic over the last few days.
EAT at Dan & Steph's owner Dan Mulheron said it was business as normal.
"We're being extra cautious about hygiene practices, so there are hand sanitisers on every table and staff are keeping in touch," Mr Mulheron said. Cheryl-Lyn Ramsay, owner of Cheryl-Lyn's Cafe in Maryborough, said she hadn't seen a noticeable change in foot traffic and it was too early to assess the impact.