Tired of all the Bad News? These are Brisbane’s Good Stories of COVID-19

Brisbane pivots and adapts during lockdown

Reading the newspaper or watching TV, you’d be forgiven for believing that it’s all bad news right now. The still-evolving crisis on our doorstep has seen whole industries scramble, major events cancelled, cherished loved-ones lost, and lives put on hold, seemingly indefinitely. Our livelihoods have been hit hard but hospitality, in particular, has been crushed.

There are bright spots in the shadow of COVID-19, however. Some agile local businesses are facing the current normal with creativity, allowing them to make rent and keep staff from unemployment lines.

This page aims to share those traders who are thinking laterally to stay solvent. You can submit your own Brisbane good news story by email, here.

On to the good news:

Feed the Frontline

Frontline worker in mask

Feed the Frontline is an initiative that supplies Brisbane’s most essential workers with high-quality meals fresh from some of Brisbane’s finest and funkiest dining institutions while helping to keep local businesses employing. Created by cooking class instructor Fleur Sharpe of Cook Live Love, it’s a win-win idea but it’s not exactly zero-sum… Feed the Frontline requires a leg-up from you.

How does it work? You donate a meal to Brisbane’s nurses, doctors and medical professionals working around the clock to combat COVID-19 via this gofundme page. With your donation, meal vouchers will be distributed in consultation with Brisbane’s most affected hospitals. Then, local dining institutions like such as E’cco Bistro, The Wolfe, Proof BBQ & Booze and more will get busy in the kitchen. The meals will then be delivered directly to the frontline.

Bopple App = Hospo Saviours?

Bopple co-founder Angus McLachlan getting takeaway at Paw Paw Cafe
Bopple co-founder Angus McLachlan getting takeaway at Paw Paw Cafe

Brisbane-based Bopple is a meal ordering app unlike the one you may already have, in some profound ways. Bopple allows you to order, pay, and either pick up your order or have it delivered by the vendor. Importantly, it’s done without slugging your favourite establishment the crippling 30-35 per cent fee favoured by other apps.

The subscription-based app has waived subscription fees for the foreseeable future and has partnered with leading point-of-sale system, Kounta, also Australian. The partnership gives businesses a viable option for takeaway and delivery services with the only payment fee 5.9% on each order.

Co-founder Angus McLachlan, a former hospitality worker, said Bopple gives small businesses a fighting chance in challenging times.

“If you place a $100 order at Happy Boy using Kounta Ordering powered by Bopple, the venue would receive $93.51 within 24 to 48 hours. If the same customer orders using a third-party delivery platform the venue would receive up to $35 less. The venue would also need to wait 1-2 weeks for the payment to be deposited, leaving them out of pocket in these desperate times,”  Angus said.

Bopple also allows the vendor much more control than the offshore market-dominators. Cafes and restaurants are able to set their own delivery radius and delivery fee. They get paid daily via direct settlements. It’s refreshing. The vendor has full control of their own store front and is able to switch services on and off at will.

Local Manufacturers #MakingItForQLD

The Bearded Chap with a bottle of sanitiser
The Bearded Chap with Germ Killer

It’s often said Australian manufacturing is dead but local makers of all sizes and walks are proving otherwise. Enoggera-based grooming product company The Bearded Chap has gotten busy boosting Queensland’s sanitiser supplies.

Australia’s oldest distillery – Beenleigh Rum – have also pivoted to hand sanitiser with a production run that will see them supply to schools and frontline workers. Likewise, Bundaberg Rum is producing 100,00 litres of ethanol to be donated to the Queensland Government. The key ingredient is enough make around 500,000 bottles of sanitiser for use in schools and on the frontline.

Brisbane Distillery Company

Brisbane Distillery's Instagram

Moving on from rum, West End-based boutique gin distiller, Brisbane Distillery Company, has also heeded the cleanliness call-to-arms, making hospital grade (80% ethanol) sanitiser. The public can buy their moisturising sanitiser in consumer-friendly 500ml and 20ml bottles. While stock is available, they’re giving away the pocketable 20ml bottles free with gin orders, via organised scheduled pickups.

Regular consumers should note that Brisbane Distillery Co. is prioritising medical and essential workers, supplying in bulk via specialist couriers.

Funlabs’ Free Virtual Kids Parties

Girl with party balloons

It’s pretty tough explaining to a six year old that their birthday party has been cancelled due to isolation practices. Enter the good people at Funlabs with a solution to help kids celebrate their birthdays with hosted parties online. For free.

Kids can choose a Strike Bowling, Sky Zone or Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq 30 minute virtual party. Then, the birthday child and seven friends will enjoy classic party games, show off their dance moves, test their artistic skills and, of course, sing happy birthday – in a fun on-screen environment. At the end of the party the Funlabs host will arrange a free visit for the birthday child when doors reopen. So kids will get to celebrate, again, but IRL. Cue the party kazoo.

Funlabs Free Virtual parties:
Strike Bowling
Archie Brothers

Want to share your own Brisbane Good News Story? Email the author.