Consistent revenue flow over December

Ettalong Diggers

Christmas 2020 was a difficult time for many Peninsula residents, but retail, clubs and hospitality venues still maintained a consistent revenue flow over the December period.

Ettalong Diggers CEO Bill Jackson said the end of year profits had been quite good with many new and familiar faces visiting the club.

“2020 was tough all the way through, but as we entered that last quarter around December, a lot of the older patrons started coming back into the club to have meals and relax,” Jackson said.

“Also, there was a bit of an increase in tourism, where people couldn’t travel for holidays, so people were finding that it was better to come to the Central Coast and have a quick couple of days here.”

Jackson said December had been a good month all round but was definitely not as big as the 2019 Christmas period.

“After talking to a lot of club managers around the Coast, most of them experienced 85 per cent of what they would have experienced in December 2019 as a comparison,” he said.

Deepwater Plaza centre manager Marcelle Proper said Christmas and holiday trade had been positive and extremely busy, with holidaymakers and locals frequenting the centre often.

“With many local residents working from home and not travelling to the Sydney CBD as much for work, the shopping centre has seen a positive uplift in visitation during the Monday to Friday working week,” Proper said.

“Over the past year, Deepwater Plaza has continued to serve the local community with its strong mix of essential retailers and services.”

As the Peninsula community entered the tail end of 2020, restrictions began to ease, and holiday plans began to look quite promising.

Jackson said Ettalong Diggers had nearly made it back to normal capacity with 1 per 2 sqm totalling around 1500 people, but unfortunately, function capabilities were still limited.

“People weren’t encouraged to have their functions of any size at the club, especially birthday celebrations or weddings; people weren’t able to dance or sing, which made it harder as well.”

He said club patronage remained consistent and community members felt comfortable within public settings once again, until the week before Christmas when COVID-19 cases started to spike.

“The moment that those problems started happening on the Northern Beaches was the moment everything started to tighten up again, and a lot of our local patrons stopped coming into the club,” Jackson said.

“Everything has been pushed back; we are now back to 1 per 4 sqm, which means we are down to the max capacity of 470 people.

“Before COVID-19 we were probably hosting around 2000 people on a normal Friday and Saturday night.”

Jackson looks positively towards 2021 and said Diggers would continue to operate a COVID Safe club for its patrons.

Hayley McMahon