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One last game of bingo

Tuesday, 24th March, 2020

Broken Hill Musicians Club General Manager Michael Boland about to put up the closure sign at the club. PICTURE: Emily McInerney Broken Hill Musicians Club General Manager Michael Boland about to put up the closure sign at the club. PICTURE: Emily McInerney

By Emily McInerney

The Musicians Club shut at midday yesterday after opening to allow one last bingo game for their regulars.

Manager Michael Boland said a number of local clubs had already shut their doors.

“We had one last bingo session, the people that play are the only ones in here,” he said.

“So it’s a safe environment for them, a lot had already turned up and we didn’t want to turn any away.”

Michael said while they would be temporarily closed, there would still be staff onsite.

“Due to the federal fovernment’s implementation of Stage 1 Lock Down restrictions, all Clubs in Australia must suspend trade indefinitely as of 12pm, Monday,” he said.

“This is a dark time for Australia and the world. We face a terrible enemy in COVID 19, however, I choose to see the positive sides of these events in that this closure means more protection for our staff and members as the virus spreads.”

Michael said he would like to see more support from the federal government with a model similar to the UK.

“We need proper income support, similar to the UK model of wages paid at 80 per cent,” he said.

“Instead of using social security which is grossly inadequate.

“There also needs to be further business support.”

Michael said he feels the Musicians Club could continue to trade without support but if the situation extends beyond six months there will be trouble.

“Financially, banks are trying to provide good support.”

He said staff morale was currently low but they were trying to be positive.

“We’re all in the same boat, it’s the unknown that has everyone worried.

“We’re just waiting for more information from the government.

“We’ve tried to keep some humour during the day; for example, me driving down to Centrelink in a company car.”

Michael said federal government support that went directly to businesses could mean he would be able to provide support for his staff.

“We will be back, as Churchill said; ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’. That has been our catch cry.”

Michael said he looks forward to seeing all their loyal members once the crisis is over.

“This is not good bye, this is just see you later. The Broken Hill Musicians Club will re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We look forward to seeing all our members, staff and suppliers safe and sound at the end of this health crisis.

“Please take care of yourself, your families and each other.”

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