Restaurants across Canberra are providing new takeaway menus and implementing extreme health and safety measures in response to fast-moving developments as the coronavirus spreads.
As one of the smallest restaurants in Canberra, Pilot, in Ainslie, has fared better than most in recent times. While many establishments suffered over summer during the bushfires and are only now beginning to see effects from the social distancing measures put in place during the coronavirus outbreak, Pilot is coping relatively well.
"We find ourselves oddly calm because there's nothing we can do," says co-owner Ross McQuinn.
"We're in quite a lucky position in that we're a small restaurant, for us we only need 30 people through the door for us to be happy.
"We had days over summer that weren't as good as they could have been but we didn't find summer as tough as a lot of people did.
"We haven't seen a big drop because of COVID-19, last week was actually a pretty decent week but we're expecting this week to be different, it was like everything changed overnight."
Pilot is considering setting up a takeaway friendly menu and many other restaurants have already done so.
At Rebel Rebel in New Acton co-owner Sean McConnell has opened the menu up to takeaway and has implemented some extreme sanitisation measures to ensure the restaurant is meeting standards.
"We've requested all staff undergo a temperature check on arrival at work before their shift and anyone with a high temperature will be asked to go home immediately," he said.
"On top of that we're encouraging staff to wash their hands every 30 minutes, there are sanitising stations around the restaurant and we're sanitising point of sale screens and eftpos terminals and bathrooms periodically throughout the day."
McConnell said he has noticed a downturn in trade, "and it's only going to get worse".
"We have to do what we can to financially weather the storm. We're offering the whole menu as a takeaway option."
McConnell said customers could phone through orders and staff would even run meals out to cars.
"We want you to forget about toilet paper and stock up on some wines from our curated list."
At Temporada in the City, chef Dave Young has made much of the menu available to takeaway as possible.
"We would love to have you dine with us, but if you prefer to takeaway, we're here for you," he said.
Temporada has removed tables from the banquette to allow for more space and are encouraging contactless payments.
Natural Nine, at the Canberra Casino, where social distancing measures have been put in place, has also reduced capacity and their full menu is available to takeaway.
Three Mills Bakery can deliver a "brunch box" which includes Baker's granola, croissants, a loaf of sourdough, an orange and raisin loaf and four bake-at-home sausage rolls.
Many other establishments are encouraging patrons to purchase gift vouchers which can be used at a later date.
- In next week's Food & Wine edition we'll pull together a comprehensive list of who's offering what. If you would like to be included email email@example.com
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)