Belmont 16s has been a fixture in the community for almost 100 years
But never before has the club faced the kind of challenge presented by COVID-19.
After operating 18 hours a day, 365 days a year for many years, the club’s sudden closure for 10 weeks in March forced the business into hibernation and meant its many members no longer had access to their regular meeting place.
CEO Scott Williams says the club had no choice but to stand down most of the club’s 147 staff, taking the opportunity at least to complete maintenance and internal improvements during the shutdown period.
Since reopening in June to a ‘new normal’, numbers have progressively increased but are still a long way from the 12,000 visitors a week the club welcomed pre-COVID.
“One thing we’ve learned during the pandemic is that things can change quickly,” Williams says.
“You need to ensure your business can be agile and you have the ability to adapt to variables such as government guidelines or changing customer preferences.”
Despite the recent struggle, Williams remains optimistic about the future.
“We are blessed to operate in Lake Macquarie, which as a City has a bright future with a lot of blue sky on the horizon,” he says.
“As the City grows and both the demography and customer behaviours adapt, I believe that the hospitality industry will prosper.”