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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Brunswick Heads adapts to doing business differently

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The Brunswick Heads Visitor Centre and the town’s business chamber say they have pooled all their resources to help Brunswick Heads businesses ride the COVID-19 crisis wave and prepare for the comeback.

Small retail business owner and Brunswick Heads Chamber president, Juliana Harmsen, says the Brunswick Heads Visitor Centre/office is closed to customers, but has set up an ‘engine room’ for the Chamber’s Covid-19 response.

‘The Visitor Centre and chamber have retained its five part-time staffing team to help the executive team to implement a range of strategies.’

‘Top of the list is a practical initiative. A week ago, “The Bruns doing Business” list was created and is being updated every day by the team.  It is posted on the Chamber and Brunswick Heads community Facebook pages around lunchtime, and is also on the Chamber’s website.

‘Our small businesses have adapted quickly and creatively to the ever-changing rules designed to protect our community,’ she said.

‘As of March 31, about 60 Bruns businesses, including 16 essential service businesses, were still operating in a responsible but reconfigured form, to meet the needs of our community,’ Juliana said.

‘A few businesses are offering takeaway with strict one-at-a-time service social distancing rules in place, quite a few are offering home deliveries and most retailers have transferred their business across to online trading.

‘Rick Newman had a creative idea for his gym on the Run Bootcamp. He has put together fitness packs for each of his clients, and hand delivered them to their homes. These contain instructions and all the equipment they need to complete the bootcamp program for the week.

‘Bruns businesses are being kept informed of all the government assistance programs as they are announced, via the Chamber’s communication platforms. Chamber executive members have already had conversations with landlords, with some excellent outcomes.

‘The Chamber and Visitor Centre team is also encouraging businesses to share their needs and what they can offer, so that matching can take place.

‘New practical and lateral strategies will be rolled out as the ever-changing crisis unfolds and new needs and opportunities arise,’  said Juliana.

She says the Chamber met with Council’s general manager Mark Arnold recently to advise on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and what the Chamber was doing and to request support from Council.

‘We were thrilled that outdoor dining fees were waived following our request to the general manager’, she said. ‘We are hoping that Council will help by waiving some other fees as well’, she said.

Ms Harmsen says the chamber are committed to Bruns businesses, and will continue to liaise with Council, state and federal bodies to waive various business fees and charges to facilitate business survival.

Support for businesses is only a call, text or email away’, she said.

Contacts for the Visitor Centre and Chamber are:

Cherie Heale (Chamber Admin Officer) 0499 395 601

Kim Rosen (VC Co-ordinator) 0412 316 299

Gary Deller (Chamber Vice President) 0449 867 885

Russell Siwicki (Chamber Committee) 0419 627 109

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