The owners of Lola's Cafe and Diner at Grafton Base Hospital, Samantha Wright and Shayne Obee, are dealing with a trade drop-off because of coronavirus regulations.
The owners of Lola's Cafe and Diner at Grafton Base Hospital, Samantha Wright and Shayne Obee, are dealing with a trade drop-off because of coronavirus regulations.

Medicos seem like they're in control says barista

OWNING a business at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic response has given Shayne Obee and his partner Samantha Wright confidence health authorities are up to the task.

The couple own the shop at the Grafton Base Hospital and every day hospital staff enjoy coffees and healthy snacks the couple and their staff produce.

"You overhear little snippets and bits and pieces, which I am not going to repeat," Mr Obee said.

"But from what you hear, I'm confident they know what they're doing.

"The biggest problem they've got is actually getting the general public to do what they have been asked to do."

Mr Obee said his business had fallen off by a third since the coronavirus pandemic started to bite.

He said hospital staff customers made up about two thirds of his business and that remained about the same.

"We've lost visitors and people coming in for their elective surgery appointments," he said.

But his business was facing other challenges because of government changes to dining regulations.

"On Monday we had to remove all the tables and chairs when the Federal Government announced its ban on restaurant dining," he said.

"It didn't help us, but you have to work with them. At least we're still open for takeaways.

"I think it's something the hospital staff enjoy, a little break in a stressful environment."

Mr Obee also has concerns for himself and his staff.

"You hope someone who was coming to the COVID-19 clinic for a test went straight to the clinic and didn't drop in for a coffee," he said.

"We're aware of the obligations and the rule changes and follow them."

The COVID-19 pandemic has dampened what would have been a successful first year for them in the cafe, which opened last April.

"It had been going pretty well up until the virus restrictions came into place," he said.

"Now we just take it one day at a time. You never know, they might close it all down.

"You just have to take it as it comes."