Two more weeks into the new world of COVID-19 and things are looking a lot different. A fortnight ago we were having seemingly hourly updates from the Prime Minister now we are finding a new normal.

The data shows that Australia has slowed the rate of new infections to the point of cautious optimism. At the time of writing this, Australia has had 61 deaths from COVID-19 making our death-per-million figure 2 per million population. Any death is a tragedy, but from a statistics point of view, Australia has been part-lucky and part well-managed. If we consider the deaths per million figure of the US at 67 per million, and Spain at 368 deaths per million we should take a moment to be thankful, but also remain diligent.

As a Chamber, one of the more perplexing issues around COVID-19 and running a business is the disparity around how businesses have been affected. Tragically, some businesses have already needed to close their doors, some are barely keeping their heads above water while others are absolutely flat out. If you happened to drive past Bunnings on Saturday you would have seen what I am talking about first hand.

As business owners, right now is the time to adapt. If you are one of the businesses that is currently flying, are you prepared for the potential downturn that may follow? Even toilet paper manufacturers would need to be prepared for the drop off in sales once the market returns to normal. If you are a business just keep your head above water, what are your plans? Have you signed up to the Jobkeeper program? Have you been in touch with the Gympie Regional Council’s hotline? What about those that are struggling? Have you considered all possibilities? Are you online? Do you have your Facebook page up to date? Do people know they can still buy from you? What can you, as a business, do differently, or sell differently, to service your customers?

There are almost too many examples of Gympie businesspeople thinking laterally right now. Oska and Willow are working tirelessly in their online shop offering what people need and not profiteering in the process. The Queenslander Hotel are doing takeaway with home delivery. If you order a meal, they can even deliver alcohol with that meal. I also see Fisherman’s Haul nailed their service on Good Friday. These businesses are working tirelessly to make it work in the new normal. But the most important thing is they are visible. Even the best salesperson in the world can’t sell a secret. Make sure people know that you are open for business.

We might all be in different boats but we are all in the same storm.