Ten weeks ago, tourism and sole traders were described in the PM’s words as ‘front line and first blow’ of the Covid-19 pandemic. Confirmation this week clarifies tour and transport operators (the connectors) within the tourism sector, remain in hibernation until Stage 3 of the Recovery Roadmap. Here’s my predicament….
National and state border restrictions are still in place. Half my business is from the New Zealand market. Social life is coming back but understandably very cautiously. Stage 2 starts tomorrow, and many of our beloved itinerary destinations are not opening, or if they can, under serious restrictions and hesitant to accept tour group bookings over general public walk-ins.
Events are non-existent. Social distancing applies to tour vehicles. It’s not viable to operate The Entertainer Limousine with two people, or even the average four in a household. The income and expenses don’t match. I can’t pivot. Every kilometre driven in tour vehicles needs to be recouped. Our purpose of service is not comparable to taxis and other public transport deemed essential services at this time.
The paralysis of operating a business you passionately built with your own hands with ongoing expenses and no income stream is quite terrifying. And I am just one of the little fish in a big ocean (river!). However, I have been incredibly appreciative for grant funding opportunities to focus on improved experiences and communication.
To every single person who continues to help me behind the scenes – the thank you is genuine. To the tourism industry leaders for endless opportunity of learning through virtual workshops and signing letters of support, to my accountant and pilates instructors, to suppliers and customers for testimonials and checking in to say hello.
Juggling life has felt very busy in a strange way. Along with ticking off the massive to do list with relaxed clock watching, another silver lining was our 12 and 10 year old daughters being home 44 days straight. It was not in my strategic plan to be doing year 5 maths! But I cherished the time deeply understanding the strengths and weakness of their school learning, not just their normal homework.
My fabulous husband, (the Juggle House Experiences backup guy), was working his own gig from home too. There were so many fun moments. My family are all back to their normal lives, I miss them, but I’m grateful for that.
All of this is nothing in comparison to the health and wellbeing effort.
The saving of lives and livelihoods makes us truly grateful to live in the lucky country.
Please stay home if you are unwell, please download the COVIDSafe app, please continue practicing good hygiene.
In the meantime, Stage 3 businesses will be patient, yet productive, for a while longer. We can’t wait to welcome you back to Juggle House Experiences to Replay SA.