Adelaide’s superstar restaurant Orana has shut its doors. Owner-chef Jock Zonfrillo made the announcement on social media on Saturday, before the fine diner’s final service. He attributed the indefinite closure to the escalating effects of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Hospitality has been my life, it’s heartbreaking watching the industry deteriorate from the top of their game to shutting their doors and as we inevitably move into lockdown so many more are yet to come,” the post reads.
“I’m deeply touched by the support Australians are showing for the hospitality industry and businesses have been doing everything they can to survive. Food boxes and take home meals are a short term fix [and] gift vouchers can only be spent in a restaurant that exists post this Armageddon, even if they do survive, a gift voucher in the cash register post apocalypse doesn’t help pay the wages as beautiful a gesture as it is.
“Brilliant initiatives with best intentions but considering the way this has unfolded globally it’s simply short term thinking. Social distancing is proving the key to breaking the back of COVID19, filling our restaurants will only assist in spreading it further amongst our families and communities inevitably extending the pain for an excruciating period of time. Stopping the spread of COVID-19, and paying wages and suppliers in the meantime, are the only way to the other side of this.
“We are sending our team on paid annual leave after service tonight, this will inevitably move into unpaid leave. We will however continue to pay our team until the bank account is drained or we can reopen our doors.”
“Restaurant Orana really has been the little restaurant that could. Other than my three children, Restaurant Orana opening, surviving and thriving is without question what I am most proud of in my life. I know we have had impact on Indigenous communities, and whether I have a restaurant at the end of this or not who knows."
Orana is the second high-profile Adelaide restaurant to announce its closure due to the coronavirus outbreak, following an announcement on Friday that the d’Arenberg Cube Restaurant would close in April. Sadly, it won't be the last. Venues across the country are closing in droves as huge swathes of the population self-distance and self-isolate. Some are closing temporarily, others permanently – it’s an existential crisis the likes of which the Australian hospitality industry has never seen.
“I hope someone hears the hospitality industries [sic] call to arms and weighs in,” Zonfrillo’s post continues. “If ever we needed it it’s now.”
It's not yet clear what the closure means for Zonfrillo's previously announced Australian Flavour Lab, which has moved into the former Blackwood premises below Orana.
Live List: Adelaide Restaurants Closed Due to Coronavirus