Clubs and pubs gear up for Christmas trade

Despite concerns over Covid-19, local function spaces are reporting that Christmas bookings are roughly on par with more ‘normal’ years. Venues such as the Talbingo Country Club, Batlow RSL Club and Tumut Golf Club said they’re very aware of Covid regulations, but their function rooms are large enough to handle typical Christmas parties, even with social distancing rules in place.

Talbingo has been especially busy this year, according to the Talbingo Country Club’s Administrations Manager Renee Reinders.

“We’re pretty busy. We’re flat out, to be honest,” she said. 

“We’re very steady; things are just normal for us, we’ve still got all our holiday people coming, all our holiday houses are full and accommodation is booked up with workers.”

Talbingo has seen a steady stream of workers connected to Snowy 2.0 moving through the region, along with holidaymakers looking for a safe spot to escape the city. Ms Reinders said they were expecting a normal to busy Christmas season.

At the Batlow RSL Club, General Manager Kylie Boxsell said they’ve been hyper-Covid-aware since the mountain town has been frequently visited by officials assisting with bushfire recovery operations.

“We still are required to keep an attendance register and we’re still checking temperatures,” she said. 

“We’ve had a lot of people coming and going from Batlow with bushfire cleanup and recovery, a lot of people in and out from Sydney and still to date we’re not accepting people who’ve travelled to Victoria in the last 14 days, but that will soon change and that will be really positive for the Christmas period.”

Ms Boxsell said the RSL Club had space to fit large groups and a strong Covidsafe policy in place, so she’s feeling positive about the holiday season.

“We’re still able to have all our Christmas parties, there’s no change to the seating rule, so it’s just bums on seats,” she said.

Bookings have been “a little bit slower, for sure,” but Ms Boxsell said she was expecting it to pick up. 

“We still have people very mindful of what’s happening and who aren’t quite comfortable to go out yet, but we feel we have a very safe environment here, and we’re very mindful of Covid regulations. 

“Everyone in our venue has been really wonderful.”

In Tumut, the Tumut Golf Club can cater to groups of up to 100, according to Club President Geoff Brain.

“On a Friday night, we get close to 100 people right now,” he said. “As long as we’ve got them all booked in and they’re not mingling, we’re alright. 

Mr Brain said the restaurant can seat 22 people with Covidsafe regulations, with another 42 in the hall and the rest on the verandah or in the lounge.

The Golf Club currently has around 10 Christmas events booked, with other bookings for corporate meetings and graduation parties through the end of the year.

“As time draws on, we’ll get a lot more,” said Mr Brain.

“I imagine we’ll be pretty busy, actually. Normally at Christmas time we’d have a lot of party bookings. I would imagine this year would be no different and people will be looking for somewhere to go.”

Venues are currently limited to one person per four square metres inside and one person per two square meters outside, up to a maximum of 300 people.