139 YEARS ON: Historic hotel gets COVID-19 makeover
WHEN Covid-19 restrictions forced Col McBride to shut his Hideaway Station Hotel at Tiaro in March he took the opportunity to refresh the heritage-listed establishment.
Over the past two months the interior has been repainted, carpets have been shampooed, the beer garden and kid's fort have been revamped and veranda floorboards have been replaced.
"I'm pretty proud of it," he said.
Mr McBride said the historic building that has been operating since 1881 required regular maintenance and these were jobs that would have needed doing eventually.
The forced break meant the work has been completed earlier and without any inconvenience to patrons.
"Every cloud's got a silver lining," he said.
The publican is looking forward to restrictions easing enough to make it viable for the hotel to reopen and the return of staff and patrons.
The cost of the closure has weighed heavily on the business and staff.
Mr McBride said the forced shutdown happened quickly with only a couple of hours notice.
"We found out on Sunday. We opened at 10am and closed by 12," he said.
The hotel had food preparations in place for the following 3-4 days including catering for two tour groups.
"All the prep had to be given away or thrown away," he said.
"I gave a lot of it away. Everyone in my neighbourhood lived like a king for a week."
Staff were stood down on the Monday but he hopes they will return when the pub reopens.
And they lost five kegs of beer that were on tap and sent 15 kegs back to the brewery.
Mr McBride said the hotel was opening from 2-4pm daily to sell alcohol and waiting for restrictions to ease further before reopening.
He said it was not a viable option for the business to run a commercial kitchen to provide meals for only 10 or 20 people but he was looking forward to seeing his staff, his regulars and some new faces when the restrictions end.
The Hideaway Station Hotel is at 5 Walter Street, Tiaro. Phone 4129 2153.
(Articles contributed by Margie Maccoll have been supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.)