THE uncertainty of what's to come is at the forefront of hospitality business owners as pubs and restaurants closed their doors on Monday.
Restaurants and bars shut up shop on Monday as part of government restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19.
Only businesses who can operate as a takeaway food venue are able to stay open.
The Foundry and Mr Bobs co-owner Sonya Kuchel said it was a heartbreaking thing to do.
"Understandably, we knew we'd get to this but to put it into action is another thing altogether," she said.
"We employ upwards of 80 staff. The casual staff were hardest hit to start with as we limited their shifts. It was really quite heartbreaking, people saw their future changing before their eyes. Everyone is in shock."
Ms Kuchel said the cost of staying open was beginning to outweigh the income.
"Like most hospitality owners, we're waiting for directives," she said. "We're letting people know we're shut and hopefully we can get back under control. But with the underlying six months (ahead) there is a lot of uncertainty."
At The Brougham Arms on Monday morning brothers Scott and Luke MacUmber, who own the business with their father Darryl, were deciding whether to try and stay open through the bottleshop.
"I would say Monday is our last day until who knows when just because of the health risk," Scott said. "We don't want to subject our staff to that. We all have families we go home to and you don't know who's driving through. As sad as that is.
"Myself and Luke will be the only ones here because we cant afford to pay staff."
The MacUmber family has owned The Brougham Arms for more than 40 years.
Darryl said he felt the hotel would pull through the health crisis but worried other pubs might not survive.
"It'll be longer than a month. It will get worse before it gets better," he said.
"It was 40 years building up business and in 12 hours it's taken from you. We have 33 staff with eight full timers. They are all unemployed.
"Our business been pretty successful and we'll survive but what concerns me is that some of the smaller pubs wont survive.
"If this goes on for six months, there'll be half a dozen pubs in Bendigo that won't re-open. That will be sad. I think we will survive but it will be lean times."
The hotel noticed a drop off in clientele over the weekend as more restrictions were introduced.
"It was like the drop of a hammer (hearing the restrictions)," Scott said. "We thought it was OK on Sunday and one day later, we're shut up shop with the restrictions.
"Last week was normal, Saturday Sunday was quiet but up until then it wasn't too bad. Once everyone had the fear, it dropped off."
Bendigo cafes and restaurants adapt to keep businesses going
Clogs Bendigo is one of many small businesses working to ensure its business as usual during the coronaviris pandemic.
The Italian eatery has taken measures to ensure customers feel safe continuing to order their favourite takeaway foods.
Owner Michael van Haandel said it was a challenging time.
"All businesses should recognise that their customers may want to interact with them differently for a period of time," he said.
"We have implemented minimal to no-touch food preparation, just to ensure our customers feel a little safer with us."
The new measures include the option for takeaway to be bought from the venue to your car and contactless home delivery.
"If you don't feel comfortable coming in, will ring your bell and leave deliveries on your doorstep," Mr can Haandel said.
"You can (also) freeze your pizza and pasta to add to your saved meals.
"Changing the way we operate will ensure our customers feel safe with us, and we can maintain economic continuity during a disrupted market."
Gus Higginbottom is another hospitality owner changing the way he operates.
He took over the Quarry Hill Cafe and Larder in December and is now facing a scenario where he must adapt of close down.
Since the announcement on Sunday that restaurants and bars will close their doors, Mr Higginbottom has been working with his chefs to produce a menu that includes meals that people can take home.
"We were thinking about it last week. I'm not naive, but I'm new to business, so I have been trying to work with the chefs," he said.
"Our chef does good moussaka, lasagnas, quiches, pastas and soups. They are simple meals that keep prices down to encourage people.
"Normally we have got 12 staff and are now down to four or five. We didn't expect the shutdown to be so quick, I thought we might have a month or two before getting to this stage."
Mr Higginbottom has also rearranged the cafe to cut off the dine-in elements and utilised a second door to have separate entry and exit points.
"It's to make people feel safer. We have to try to re-adapt to whats happening," he said.
"It was busy (on Monday) morning. We open from 6.30am, so have a lot of tradies, bus drivers and school teachers (stop in). But school is out now, so we have to ask ourselves do we stay open from 6.30 in morning?
"A lot of people are in shock and upset because they're out of work. Our other issue is people not spending money because they don't have it to spend, so we will consider the pricing of our food."
Going forward, Mr Higginbottom said he hopes the community can find a way to support small businesses affected but the coronavirus shutdown.
"The key thing is to see the community backing small businesses. Bigger ones can handle selves but small businesses, not just cafes, will need support from the community," he said.
"(It's important) to get behind, not just me, but other small businesses that are in a worse situation than me.
"A lot of businesses are trying. It's their livelihood, especially family-run businesses. You can't just close your door. It's an income.
"We'll be here as long as we can but we need the support of the community to do it.
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