by Chris Tobin
Timaru’s chartered clubs are picking themselves up after being dealt a major blow by Covid-19.
Timaru Town and Country Club manager Vince Gardner said they lost about $360,000 to $400,000 in revenue over six to eight weeks of the lockdown.
However, they had managed to hold on to all their staff throughout.
“We’ve really appreciated the Government’s wage subsidy and we’re lucky to have interest-free loans.
“We’ve retained all staff and they’ve been paid 100% of their salaries.”
Timaru South Cosmopolitan Club secretary-manager Wayne McBeath said he would not be able to put a figure on the amount of lost earnings but it would be substantial.
“We’re lucky we’ve got a couple of rental properties which has kept revenue coming in.”
Mr Gardner said the pandemic and shutdown had been hard for town and country club members to accept. The club had 3500 members and in weeks before the lockdown the South Canterbury RSA had linked up with them.
The club opened on Thursday, May 14 to diners, members, affiliated members and their guests with numbers and hours restricted and other conditions applying.
“We didn’t expect to see the 70-plus age group but they walked in as soon as the doors opened.”
The club also operated a home delivery service for food and alcohol.
“One day we had 19 orders for meals and beer and 40-odd on Mother’s Day packages with wines. It was surprising; we didn’t expect so many.”
Normal bar services resumed last Thursday and the club was opening five days a week, Wednesday through to Sunday, from 11am.
The “Cossie club”, which has just under 1000 members, opened last Thursday, which was welcomed by members, Mr McBeath said.
During the lockdown some of the older members were looked after by other members to ensure they had meals and grocery supplies.
The lockdown came at a time when the club was probably doing its best, Mr McBeath said.
“We’re hoping the punters will come back.”
The pandemic had not dampened expansion plans, which had been considered for some time.
“We’re still looking at doing something; we’ve been talking to different parties.
“We’ll put up building plans for the AGM and there are sporting bodies who are keen to come in with us.
“The club has looked at a possible scenario of selling off the building and land to someone who will build on site and we would lease back. It’s an option. You have no tie-ups, just overheads and a lease.”
The club is now open from 11am to 9pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with other days from 11am to 7pm.