Melbourne venues have had to adapt quickly and creatively to changing government advice for stopping the spread of coronavirus.
One inner-city pub, Cremorne’s Cherry Tree Hotel, has done it with an old, white ute and a PA system pumping Patsy Cline.
It’s closed its premises but is now delivering booze and pub meals to nearby suburbs, as well as giving away 2020’s most sought-after items: toilet paper and hand sanitiser.
“It's really important for people to stay home at the moment, so we want to make that experience as fun and convivial as possible,” says manager Toby Kingsley.
“After we closed our doors, we had a glut of toilet paper going nowhere. I hadn't seen a roll on the shelves at the supermarket for weeks, so it made sense to just give it away.”
The pub’s (gloved) staff have been handing out the coveted stuff to shoppers from the back a ute in front of the Coles on Swan Street, Richmond.
“We've got those jumbo rolls, [which will] last a single person six weeks,” says Kingsley. “Granted, it’s only two-ply. But any port in a storm, hey?”
The team has also been improvising with extendable claws to pass tinnies from a safe distance, and a couple of nurses-in-training who work at Cherry Tree have been batching up hand sanitiser based on a WHO recipe, using ethanol donated by Boatrocker Brewery.
“We're offering this to everyone when we're making deliveries. If you need it, you can have it. Whatever it takes to keep us all healthy,” says Kingsley.
Cherry Tree is also delivering drinks and its full food menu – including classic chicken parmas, cashew and sweet potato vegan burgers, steak sangas and more – across Cremorne, Richmond, Abbotsford, Camberwell, Clifton Hill, Collingwood, East Melbourne, Hawthorn, Hawthorn East, Kew, Prahran, South Yarra and Toorak.
There’s no minimum order and no delivery fee.
“The support we've had from our local community has been so heartening,” says Kingsley. “I think if we can keep pulling together, keep our head above water, we can all get through this.”