Businesses say you’re #safewithus

Business owner, Errin Williamson estimates a 70 percent loss in regular revenue at her café in Church Street, Dubbo, New South Wales, when her business was listed as a COVID-19 exposure site, after two COVID-positive travellers stopped in for a meal.

The team at Church Street Café, had been extremely proactive throughout the pandemic, with COVIDSafe ‘queens’ ensuring customers had a safe experience in the café. As a result, there were no positive cases of COVID-19 resulting from the exposure.

Despite there being no positive cases confirmed from the region, businesses were still suffering, three weeks later.

In a show of support for one another, businesses across the Dubbo region joined forces to encourage locals and visitors not affected by the state’s stay-at-home orders to continue visiting their local shops in a COVIDSafe way.

The #safewithus hashtag was the brainchild Errin Williamson and Melbourne business, Foodie Coaches, and is supported by Dubbo Regional Council and the local business community.

Williamson said the flow-on effect of being named an exposure site can be devastating to small businesses. Other impacted businesses in Dubbo reported a similar potentially devastating trend.

Local clothing boutique owner, Sophia Acheson said she had also noticed a large decline in foot traffic since the COVID-positive travellers passed through the Dubbo Region. She hoped the #safewithus campaign would encourage locals and regional visitors to keep coming to stores and buying locally.

Dubbo Regional Council’s Economic Development Officer, Shannon Starr said Council had jumped on board to support local businesses through a social media campaign, encouraging people to mask up and continue supporting local businesses and tourism operators.

“For every $100 spent in Dubbo on food and beverage services, like our cafes and restaurants, the on flow of that spend multiplies to $193 for the overall economy.

“The money that locals spend in local stores, employs people who earn wages, who then spend their wages on local offerings and so on.

“Spending locally during these times is so important, when comparing local spending to buying online the flow-on impacts of online spending to your neighbours, your friends, the people we see in our communities every day is much less.”