Stone’s takes Coronavirus precautions
Tuesday, 17th March, 2020
By Emily McInerney
A local cafe has started to prepare for a potential outbreak of COVID-19 by reducing their menu and preparing frozen meals.
“Stone’s on Argent” has taken a number of steps both externally and internally to promote and advance food and health safety.
“We are ensuring additional sanitation practices are followed, and potential contagion risks are minimised or eliminated,” owner Dylan Stone said.
“To be blunt, we are preparing for a very rough period of time,” he said.
“We are preparing for stock and supply delays, significant staff shortages, and the potential to be closed for periods of time for quarantine purposes.”
Dylan said he had implemented a plan with the first stage including reducing the menu.
“Our menu has been reduced to minimise the risk of stock shortages from impacting on our ability to serve breakfasts and lunches.
“We are asking customers to pay via EFTPOS instead of cash where possible.
“We understand this is not always possible, so we have sanitisation available right at the till for each transaction.”
The cafe’s toilets are no longer available to customers as they can only be reached by walking through the kitchen.
Dylan is also looking to establish a staff fund to ensure his casual staff will be paid if they are placed under quarantine.
“We have a set amount put away so our casuals will have access to about six weeks’ pay,” he said.
“I hope that something positive that comes out of this is that the government sits down and works out better entitlements for casual staff.
Dylan posted his plan on a number of Facebook groups and said locals were understanding.
“We have received a lot of positive responses,” he said.
“I think for a lot of people it is starting to hit home.
“I think they thought that it was a joke and would happen elsewhere but not Broken Hill.
“But it is coming and we don’t know in what form. But businesses do need to start to prepare.”
Dylan said he wasn’t looking to “fear monger” or scare people.
“We will also start looking at doing frozen meal deliveries.
“We will make lunch packs in store and freeze them so if you are in quarantine or isolation you could pay in advance and we would do a daily drop-off.
“Of course this would be open to everyone, not just people who are in quarantine. It might become a thing the cafe does all the time.”
Dylan said he would encourage people to keep spending money locally.
“The virus is one thing but the impact that it is going to have on the economy is another.
“We’re trying to put everything in perspective; there will be challenges, but for now it is business as usual.”
He said if the cafe has to close for a time he would contact his regulars, a number of whom were elderly.
“We are alert, not alarmed, so please, continue to look after small businesses in Broken Hill.”