A Dubbo hospitality venue owner is appealing to the community to support local business as NSW's COVID-19 outbreak enters its sixth week.
Robyn Davis of Dun Lah Nursery is concerned about the hit to trade small businesses are suffering amid state-wide restrictions and the Greater Sydney lockdown.
The garden centre and cafe operator took to social media on Sunday to call on the city to band together.
Drawing on a similar message from a "hospo" friend at Byron Bay, she said despite no COVID cases, Dubbo was the quietest it had been in ages due to travel restrictions, and many locals were "struggling".
"It's times like these we have to come together as a community and support each other," she said in the post.
"Go out of your way to support local restaurants, cafes, retail stores, health food shops, independent grocers, pharmacies.
"Let's be there for them as they have been there for us."
The message was shared and reposted by multiple restaurants and cafes at Dubbo.
Her appeal comes against the continuing fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak, with a recent Business NSW survey of members in western NSW suggesting revenue was down 40 per cent in certain sectors, with tourism-related and hospitality industries the most affected.
Ms Davis said the first knock to Dubbo business had happened in early June with the visit of two people from Victoria who later tested positive for COVID, and had extended beyond the venues of concern listed by NSW Health.
She said she ended up not opening on the June long weekend.
"That would have been one of our busiest, busiest times, but people were just not going out, and you could not blame them," Ms Davis said.
She backed the 'Safe With Us' campaign started by CSSC owner Errin Williamson and Melbourne business Foodie Coaches, and supported by Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the local business community.
The business owner was also concerned the community was spending with big chains offering delivery rather than small businesses.
"So the little independent grocers, the little businesses are the ones that are going to cop it," Ms Davis said.
She encouraged people to jump in the car and go downtown to have a coffee.
"And that keeps Dubbo going, I think, because Dubbo needs to have the support of the local community to get that money spending through that we're missing out on the visitors," she said.
"...Look after your local community, look after your local people.
"They're the ones that are supporting you, giving your kids jobs and helping this place stay afloat and with the majority of small businesses in town, that's a big percentage of Dubbo's takings, so we need to be able to get in there and not race to all the big retail shops."
Dun Lah Nursery, located on Old Dubbo Road, was not getting the traffic it had prior to the latest outbreak.
Ms Davis said she was trying to keep her hours the same.
"But the afternoon has really dropped off, and I've been sitting here, sitting here, trying to keep it open, but when you don't get anybody, I try and wait an hour or so, and if there's nobody about, I just sort of close the doors really," she said.
"And today, usually we would have had a few people out today.
"We've sort of really had nobody out yet, which is a bit sad.
So we're all prepped up ready for our little coffee shop and, yeah, and we might not get anyone out here.Dun Lah Nursery owner Robyn Davis
"So we're all prepped up ready for our little coffee shop and, yeah, and we might not get anyone out here.
"And we've literally had days when since the COVID scare has come back again, we've had days where we've physically had nobody, we've opened our gate, prepped, and we've had nobody.
"And as I say, I can't blame them at all, the majority of my customers are in their 70s and 80s.
"But it definitely has caused people not coming out because of that."
Ms Davis had been about to recruit a coffee barista just before the Victorian pair visited Dubbo in early June, but for the moment that plan was on hold.
"...when it all just dropped back, I've just been doing everything," she said.
"So hopefully it picks up, and I can go back to doing what I want to do within the business.
"But at the moment I'm doing the coffee, I'm doing the food, I'm doing all the cleaning and stuff.
"Only because there's no sort of people coming out really, and the money's down to be able to put people on."
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