Hinterland towns on the Sunshine Coast, like Maleny, are bouncing back with gusto following the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Warren Lynam
Hinterland towns on the Sunshine Coast, like Maleny, are bouncing back with gusto following the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Warren Lynam

How hinterland is bouncing back after pandemic hit

SIGNS of life have returned to hinterland towns across the Sunshine Coast that bore the brunt of the pandemic, despite recording few cases.

But as rescritions ease, including Stage 3 tomorrow, towns like Maleny, Mapleton, Yandina and Kin Kin are starting to bounce back.

Traders, heads of business, publicans and politicians have all reported the doom and gloom of the height of the coronavirus pandemic was slowly leaving.

Yandina Chamber of Commerce secretary Bill Gissane said to his knowledge, all the businesses on the main drag and surrounds had withstood the virus devastation.

Mr Gissane, who owns Yandina Art and Framing on Stevens St, said the latest lockdown restrictions would be another a welcome boost.

"Back in March, the street was deserted. It was a ghost town. Even the car traffic disappeared," Mr Gissane said.

"That showed in our figures. We were down more than half on trade.

"Other merchants were too.

"It started to pick up in April, now the markets have opened it is back.

"Saturday mornings are like downtown George St, you can't move."

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It comes as National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said regional CBDs had been harder hit than capital cities.

She warned that come October, when the Job Keeper stimulus dried up, there could be a "catastrophic" impact.

Mr Gissane feared the same.

"All the signs are that we are on the way back. But it will be interesting to see what happens in September when the government winds down it's support.

"We all have our hearts in our mouths."

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For Jason Walters, owner of Sweet and Flour in Mapleton and Nambour, the past few months have been a tale of two towns.

His bakery and cafe in Mapleton, predominantly a takeaway business has been open through the pandemic, while his Nambour store struggled being a dine-in venue.

"We are carrying OK. We never closed and didn't have to," Mr Walters said.

"We really started to notice a big uplift in trade when people were allowed to travel 50km from their home.

"If anything I think we are busier than that the week we were before it all went into lockdown.

"But in Nambour, we had a big decrease because people couldn't sit down. That was a big effect."

Last drinks at the Country Life Hotel, Kin Kin with local Red Kensey enjoys a beer before the closure. Photo: Warren Lynam
Last drinks at the Country Life Hotel, Kin Kin with local Red Kensey enjoys a beer before the closure. Photo: Warren Lynam

Out at Kin Kin, the Country Life Hotel which served its last drinks on March 23, were ready to reopen at full capacity ahead of stage 3.

Owner Ian Kidd said he didn't quite know what the future held.

"We will wait and see what happens tomorrow night, I'd like to think our regulars would come back but I don't really know," Mr Kidd said.

"I think it will be a bit slow and take a while to get them back.

"We fared OK. The bar wasn't open just the bottle shop. But we got through."

State member for Glass House Andrew Powell said tourism heavyweight towns like Maleny and Montville were "going gangbusters", but others were hit and miss.

Mr Powell said the stress levels of being responsible for the restrictions remained but far less intense than two months prior.

"For the ones that relied on tourism it was dreadful," he said.

"It was diabolic. Very little small business grants, the JobKeeper payment was good but not enough funding.

"The other factor was the uncertainty. Which is still there.

"But in most places, good number of people are coming through."