With the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council having their state-imposed lockdown lifted last week, local businesses were able to open and trade again, in somewhat normality.

As the Cootamundra Local Government Area has no active cases of COVID-19, business owners and residents were able to get out to the shopfronts from Saturday, September 11.

We stopped by some local businesses to see how trade has faired in the first week back, and if the lockdown had been tough on business or if they found some alternative ways to continue selling their products.

CW Jewellers: Chris Williams
“I think most people worked in their shops doing other things that we were allowed to do, but we did have multiple people knocking on the front door and wanting to get things,” Chris said.

“’It’s my wife’s birthday today and I’ve got nothing for her, can you help me?’ and those people who needed assistance were served from the front of the shop.

“They stayed outside, we stayed inside and maintained our social distancing and we were able to make it work.

“We found it very difficult. It’s hard to sell jewellery by taking it to the door and for customers to figure out what they want and like.

“We can’t physically get all the items they wanted and bring it to the front.” This improvised method of selling jewellery affected sales during the duration of the lockdown.

“We’ve seen an increase in trade since we opened back up from last week. This week especially, we’ve had quite a few people come in saying ‘I needed to get a gift over lockdown and couldn’t get anything’ so they’ve come in today and got something late,” Chris continued.

“People took their time to shop. I think they were just grateful they were able to come out and walk around and feel like they were alive again because it was so different before and made life too scary,

Cootamundra Country Club: Gwen Norman
“We came out of lockdown on Saturday, September 11, and it was very welcomed because naturally our turnover was greatly affected.

“Fortunately, being a golf course, we were able to provide exercise for local residents, so we’re very proud of that.

“We’ve seen people who haven’t embraced a game of golf, croquet or bowls come and experience what we have to offer, which has been very positive.

“A lot of young people either having breaks from study or realising that their team sports have been called off and looking at golf as a great social sport.”

Gwen said while the active side of the club was still going, it was good to see the re-opening of the bar and bistro.

“We’ve seen some regulars back which has been great. The associated bar has increased, but nothing like the levels of a pre-COVID lockdown,” she said.

“I think we’d be the same as a lot of other businesses who are just tip-toeing at the moment, from the point of view wondering if the problem will come again.”
Gwen, Chair of the Board, said lockdown was tough on business but they are thankful to their loyal patrons.
“We couldn’t trade over the lockdown so obviously the income was dramatically reduced. The only in-come was from green fees,” she said.

“I think it’s extremely important that we do thank the people of Cootamundra. We sincerely thank the members for following the COVID restrictions and being compliant.

Existing members have also invited new members to come along to try what we are offering.”

Elizabeth Anne Florist and Gifts: Georgie
“The first week back open has been well received, but we were allowed to trade during lockdown too,” Georgie said.

The shop wasn’t open, but we were still able to do contactless deliveries and that kept us pretty busy.

“Last week was our first back in the shop, but it’s been pretty steady, and people have been about.

“Lockdown hasn’t been too bad business-wise. Because the nursing home went into lockdown, we obviously had a few more deliveries to them, as people couldn’t drop in and were sending flowers instead.”

IGA Cootamundra: Rachel
“Trade has still been pretty consistent. It may have dropped a little bit when lockdown first started and people must’ve gone out of town for their supplies, but other than that things have still been good here,” Rachel said.

“Lockdown didn’t bring too much change for us, it was just standard.

“There may have been a small decrease in foot traffic, other than that it hasn’t been too bad.

“All products sold as usual, there wasn’t one where we went out of stock or noticed that a particular item wasn’t being bought.”

Tim Warren