It's been two months since the iconic Tarana Hotel had to shut its doors to its loyal customers and travelling visitors due to coronavirus restrictions.
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But due to easing guidelines its grand reopening has been marked in the calendar for Thursday, June 4, just in time for the Queen's Birthday long weekend with regional travel also commencing.
Pub owner Karen Moyes said the initial closing of the business had her feelings mixed.
"It was kind of a mixed reaction because it was a shock that it happened so fast, but we felt like it had to happen, it was becoming too risky for our staff having contact with people and [coronavirus] cases going up," she said.
She said the closure turned out to be an opportunity to do some renovations to the pub.
"Being open seven days a week you're chasing your tail a little bit.
"We had a very long wish list, so we've taken the opportunity to get through some of that," she said.
Karen said some repainting had been done and some new furniture had been added.
"We're quite excited that we've got to do some of the things that have been on our wishlist for three and a half years," she said.
She said the break had also posed an opportunity to sit back and rethink how she did things for the business and personally.
"When we open we are going to do things a little bit differently, we are going to offer table service, which will give us an opportunity to engage better with our customers and make things run a bit smoother," she said.
"This pandemic has also allowed us to get some rebalance in our lives," she said.
Karen said based on her measurements, 42 patrons could be seated indoors, 50 outdoors and 10 people could be seated at the bar.
"The other good news is that there is no requirement to have a meal with your drink so people can come and sit at the bar.
"A lot of our locals will be very happy with that," she laughed.
She said she looked forward to reopening, being in full operation and interacting with people again.
"... that's my favourite part of the job.
"And just having Tarana back alive again, it's been quite surreal," she said.
Karen said she couldn't bring herself to shut down completely so the bistro had been offering dinner three nights a week.
"We've got a lot of loyal customers, our locals have been amazing, we had customers order a meal from us once a week just to support us and keep us going, that has been really amazing, there's not really another word for it.
"We really appreciate that because they didn't have to do that," she said.
"That support to us, has just been invaluable."
The Tarana Hotel is set to open on June 4 for dinner and then operate its normal hours from 12pm, seven days a week.
"I just ask that people bare with us because it's not going to be normal, it's a bit of a learning curve for us," she said.
She encouraged people to book reservations to help keep things running smoothly.
"One of the requirements for reopening is that pubs have to keep a register, so we will have to get name and a phone number details.
"It might be a bit awkward but it's all about keeping everybody safe," she said.
Karen said she looked forward to having people dine in again and she wanted to thank her staff and customers for being amazing during these times.
"Our locals have been amazing, our staff have been amazing and while it's been difficult, it's been an amazing opportunity."
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