Amanda Shirley, the owner of Maclean's Booksellers in Hamilton, was sitting in her shed surrounded by palettes of books when she got the news that the Newcastle Writers Festival would not be going ahead this year.
It was a blow. MacLean's Booksellers are a major provider for the Newcastle festival, and Ms Shirley said she felt for writers and artists in particular who have had their work thrown into turmoil amid the pandemic.
Together, Not Alone: The Newcastle and Hunter businesses making a difference in the coronavirus pandemic
Trading restrictions, brought in to try to control the outbreak of coronavirus, have delivered a hard hit to the city's retailers that are likely to have lasting impacts, Ms Shirley said, but added that she and her business had to "keep moving forward".
"We're still there," she said. "And we're thankful for the government help. There's a lot the government could have done differently but they had to get it out quickly. It's not a perfect system but we're still going."
MacLean's has been taking online orders after the store was forced to shutter at the height of the outbreak, and Ms Shirley has been making free delivery runs to customers around the city even as she worked to juggle homeschooling her children.
"It has been a learning curve," she said. "My son's school has been just fantastic. I'm in awe of the amount of work they have put in."
"We have been incredibly grateful to all our customers for their support and web-orders while we have been closed. It has been a challenging time, and now it's time to slowly get back to some type of normal." Ms Shirley added that the store would continue its online orders and home deliveries to the Newcastle local government area for the time being.
As the state government begins easing lockdown rules, the NewcastleHerald has published a "Back in Business" guide today; an opportunity for businesses to tell the community they are open and whether there are changes to normal operating hours.
The Herald will also host a business hour on its Facebook page each Wednesday between the hours of 6pm and 7pm, where local businesses are encouraged to join the conversation and share their opening hours with the community.
Add your shopfront to the Herald's 'Back to Business' campaign
How to use the Herald's online business registry:
- No changes required: You don't need to do anything, your current listing will still appear as normal
- To change an entry: Select "Change an existing entry" to amend your listings. Please include all information you wish to be published, not just changes.
- To delete an entry: Select "Delete an existing entry" to remove your listing completely.
- To submit a new entry: Select "send a new entry"
Listings in the Back in Business directory are free.
Please note there will be a delay between you sending a submission and it appearing in the guide. We aim to process these as quickly as possible.
Disclaimer: Back in Business listings are based on the latest information available at the time of publishing. Please follow advice from government authorities on social, business, travel and other restrictions to help keep yourself and others safe. Check with businesses for changes to their trading conditions. ACM takes no responsibility for any consequences arising from these listings.
- For information on COVID-19, please go to the federal Health Department's website.
- You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
- If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000)
- Disclaimer: Open For Business listings are based on the latest information available at the time of publishing. Please follow advice from government authorities on social, business, travel and other restrictions to help keep yourself and others safe. Check with businesses for changes to their trading conditions. ACM takes no responsibility for any consequences arising from these listings.