Gayle Mawson and her husband David have run the Bakery Cafe for more than six years and said their turnover has gone down by 60 per cent due to the pandemic.
In response to the strain on businesses, Strathbogie Shire Council has waived registered premises fees for 2020 and 2021.
Mayor Cr Amanda McClaren said this was part of COVID-19 initiatives put forward by Council in recognition of the financial strain on businesses.
“So many businesses have been forced to either close or adjust their business model in this time of crisis and I know both myself and my fellow Councillors have been told of the financial pain our businesses are going through,” she said.
“We have recognised this in our 2020-21 Council Budget, currently out for community consultation, where we have proposed up to $320,000 of financial relief for businesses.
“The exact shape of this support will depend very much on what businesses tell us as we want to provide this relief in a practical sense to ensure it has the biggest impact.”
Council also extended rate instalment due dates and is not charging interest on any overdue/outstanding interest on accounts for the period from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020.
Mrs Mawson said the waiving of the registered business fees has been welcomed.
“This is just fantastic, and we really appreciate the help, this will give us a $500 reprieve each year,” Mrs Mawson said.
“It is great Council is looking after the businesses because everyone is just winging it right now and we don’t know what is ahead with this pandemic.”
Mrs Mawson said the Bakery Café relied heavily on the travellers coming off the Hume Highway to eat.
“We are normally six-deep at the counter and the outside area is really busy,” she said.
“Because people can’t travel, we don’t have travellers coming off the highway and we are relying on locals for all our business.
“We have had to reduce our hours and also let go of all of our front of house staff.
“Myself and my husband and three bakers have been working at the back and front of house seven days a week.”
She said the introduction of the Jobkeeper allowance also benefitted the business.
“We have been able to keep everyone employed and now that the Jobkeeper allowance is here we will be able to get staff back and pay them,” she said.
Mrs Mawson said COVID-19 had also forced the business to diversify.
“We have started to do online ordering as well as deliveries in response to the pandemic,” she said.
“We have also started making up packs that can consist of a family meat pie, milk, bread and biscuits or a pack for the elderly which can be half a loaf of bread, a small milk and maybe some Anzac biscuits.”
“These have been really popular because people can order and pay for the over the phone and they can be delivered.
“Coffee has also been something that has been popular and we have been delivering that as well.
“It’s all about riding this out together so we appreciate all the help we get from Council and locals.”