Inner West Independent

Struggling local business incentivises vaccine uptake in Rozelle

The Bald Rock Hotel in Rozelle will be offering free pints to those fully vaccinated throughout the month of August. Photo: Facebook/The Bald Rock Hotel.

By SASHA FOOT

Inner West residents are appreciating the efforts of Rozelle’s Bald Rock Hotel in finding ways to restart business by encouraging the community to get vaccinated. 

The heritage-listed pub is offering customers a complimentary pint if patrons are fully vaccinated. 

Bald Rock owner Karen Buckley tells City Hub that business is down 95 per cent due to the current lockdown. She believes the promotion of vaccines is the only way forward. 

“Hospitality won’t open until we have the majority of the population vaccinated,” Buckley said.

“The longer the lockdown goes on, the more damage to all the small businesses.”

Balmain local Tanja Michala says it is crucial that communities understand the benefits of getting vaccinated for small businesses. 

“This reminds people that we need our vaccination rates to increase for business to survive … it is not about the free beer,” she told City Hub. 

Inner West resident Melissa Matoe also showed her support for the Bald Rock’s vaccine drive. 

“I’m all for whatever it takes to get people vaccinated,” she told City Hub. 

The Bald Rock are hoping their endorsement of vaccines will “localise acceptance” in the area. 

“When you see your local with a sign outside supporting vaccination … maybe it will take some people off the fence on deciding to get vaccinated,” Buckley said. 

Calling for support

Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne commended the pub’s promotion, saying he hopes other businesses follow suit. 

“This is awesome work from the Bald Rock Hotel,” he told City Hub. 

“It would be great to see all Inner West pubs get behind the vaccination campaign so we can return more closely to life as usual, including returning to our local food and hospitality venues.”

Michala called on the government to lead vaccination incentivisation schemes, not local businesses. 

“I think it should be the government paying for this, not the business,” Michala admits. 

Since its establishment in 1876, the Bald Rock Hotel is acclaimed for being the oldest licensed venue in the Balmain and Rozelle area. 

Michala noted its withstanding presence and rapport with locals. 

“[It] is a much loved local business … [and] have struggled for sure like all small businesses,” she said. 

The pub spent the March 2020 lockdown renovating the space and recently spent several months regaining lost business. 

“We had come back even better … and were devastated by the sudden shut down on June 26,” Buckley said. 

Buckley also recognised the effects of lockdown on hospitality workers. 

“People are leaving hospitality as it is probably one the most affected businesses and long term staff will find other industries to move into,” Buckley said. 

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