This Gympie businessman had just weathered 8 months of disruptions before the COVID crisis forced a shutdown - but find out why he’s still optomistic.
This Gympie businessman had just weathered 8 months of disruptions before the COVID crisis forced a shutdown - but find out why he’s still optomistic.

Rough few months almost behind this Gympie business

IT’S been a rough few months for Gympie’s Empire Hotel.

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First, the Upper Mary St beautification project, which started in early August last year, blew out until the end of March, depleting car spaces and creating chaos for hotel guests.

Then, the same week the project was completed, the State Government closed hotels to “flatten the curve”.

Throughout the past nine weeks hotel manager John Cattanach has tried to keep as many staff on as possible, with the pub serving takeaway meals most nights.

Manager of the Empire Hotel John Cattanach during the Upper Mary St Revitalisation Project which impacted the business for 8 months before the COVID closures.
Manager of the Empire Hotel John Cattanach during the Upper Mary St Revitalisation Project which impacted the business for 8 months before the COVID closures.

Now, as restrictions ease, he’s opening the pub for lunches, starting tomorrow.

The Empire will open with a limited menu on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 11am and 2pm.

This will also be 10-patron limited seating, until stage 2 comes into effect on June 12.

“We’re doing what we can where we can,” Mr Cattanach said.

He said customers had been really supportive with 10 diners every night the pub had opened for dining so far.

It has been tough, but he is optimistic things are turning a corner.

“Soon we’re hoping to bring in a special Seniors’ menu and specials,” he said.

“We’re really looking forward to when they lift all the restrictions. Then we’ll throw a party.”