More businesses in Central Geelong are re-opening their physical shops, cafes, practices and offices every day as restrictions ease. Customers are returning as their favourite stores re-open for in-store shopping and in-person consultations with trusted professional services. Having the opportunity to dine in at a favourite café or restaurant has been welcomed by many and restaurant and cafe operators have been excited to greet old and new customers again.

Over coming weeks, as more and more cafes, restaurants, retail shops, personal service businesses and professional service businesses open or extend their opening hours, customers will notice new capacity limits, social distancing requirements and extra hygiene measures.

For some, their fit out has been modified to allow for social distancing and hygiene requirements with retailers implementing limits on customer numbers and the use of hand sanitiser required for each customer entering the premises. Counter shields to provide extra protection for staff and customers have been installed at many registers and reception desks and social distancing markers are now regular features assisting customers wait in line and be serviced at a safe distance. Contactless payment is encouraged.

For Central Geelong businesses, the 30,000+ people who work in Central Geelong form a significant part of their regular customer base. With social distancing measures and the on-going work from home model still in place for many of Central Geelong’s large office workforces including WorkSafe, TAC, NDIA, City of Greater Geelong, Barwon Water, Deakin University and The Gordon, the numbers of workers and students moving through the city each day is still impacted.

It’s more important than ever to encourage local people to think about buying products and services they need locally first. If you are wondering about what you can do to support local Central Geelong businesses now, and in the future, make sure that you look for every opportunity to buy the products and services you need from local businesses. It also helps when you follow the businesses you like on social media. By liking and following their pages, giving them a shout out for great products and services and leaving a review helps customers find them.

Making a choice to buy a product or service from a local business is not just good for the local business – it’s also good for you. You get great customer service from a local business, it’s good for the environment as buying local reduces your carbon footprint and you get to know the people who own or work in the store or café. Local businesses also bring variety and unique experiences to the streets of Central Geelong and that’s good for everyone.

The program for Tastes of Central Geelong 2020 has been released by Central Geelong Marketing to further support local restaurants and cafes and the program developed to showcase the fantastic food on offer in Central Geelong. The festival will run from 1-31 July with the festival program adapted to suit restrictions with large gathering and group events removed. The initial online program is focused on the offerings of restaurants and cafes, caters for individuals and permitted small groups and has unique online elements. The program will continue to evolve over the coming weeks with more activities and offers to be announced before the festival kicks off on 1 July. To see the program please visit: www.centralgeelong.com.au/tastes 

During the upcoming winter school holidays, 27 June to 12 July, Central Geelong Marketing will present the digital ‘Winter Kids Fun Guide’ to continue to engage with families at home and highlight businesses in Central Geelong. There are exciting offers and creative activities from Central Geelong businesses to do at home. Plus, there are new and innovative self-guided activities for families to enjoy in Central Geelong safely within gathering and social distancing requirements. You can register online to receive a copy of the Winter Kids Fun Guide when it is released at www.centralgeelong.com.au/school-holiday

To find out more about these upcoming activities or to find a product or service you need in Central Geelong, download the Love Central Geelong app or visit www.centralgeelong.com.au/find for a full business directory of Central Geelong businesses and find up to date information about how businesses are doing things differently as they re-open.

Plus, free casual on and off-street parking until 30 June 2020 in Central Geelong has been introduced by the City of Greater Geelong Council as a support measure to assist businesses and residents impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Time limits still apply.