Tim Johnson is looking forward to putting smiles on the faces of patrons at Sunshine Beach SLSC.
Tim Johnson is looking forward to putting smiles on the faces of patrons at Sunshine Beach SLSC.

BEER O’CLOCK: Multimillion-dollar surf club to open early

FOR those ravenous for the dining out experience overlooking the ocean, make a booking at the second reopening of the $6.5 million Sunshine Beach Surf Life Saving Club in just a few months.

The SBSLC could well be the only large venue of its type aiming to welcome patrons back for Saturday, June 27.

Club operations manager Tim Johnson and his team have decided to bite the bullet and go earlier than July 13 when 100 patrons will be allowed to dine in at a time.

Mr Johnson said they are planning to have seatings of 20 people throughout the day and evening.

The buzzing vibe of the Sunshine Beach Surf Club prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.
The buzzing vibe of the Sunshine Beach Surf Club prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.

"That way we can get through a couple of hundred people at lunch time and dinner … it's still pretty much break even on the numbers, but at least we're employing people again and getting the place up and running," he said.

"It's really just a chance to reopen the place and put some smiles back on faces. We're a brand-new building that operated for nine-and-a-half weeks.

"It should be great."

COVID-19 put an end to the fabulous-looking reborn surf club earlier this year and Mr Johnson said there will be stringent cleaning between each seating.

He said staff will carry out thermal temperatures checks on diners and themselves.

"I don't think it (taking temperatures) is intrusive, if we've got someone with a temperature we can nip the problem in the bud at the front door instead of inside," he said.

"I think we have over 25 hand sanitiser stations in the building now, we want to be best practice in the industry."

Local architect Andrew Bock, pictured with Berni Smytz, was responsible for the Sunshine Beach SLSC's amazing look and feel.
Local architect Andrew Bock, pictured with Berni Smytz, was responsible for the Sunshine Beach SLSC's amazing look and feel.

The club will need to be able to identify all patrons on site at any time and urges their guests to download the COVIDSAFE app on their smartphones.

Takeaways will also begin operating between 5pm to 8pm from the reopening.

Mr Johnson said he was unaware of any other surf club on the Coast planning on reopening so early, although the Coolum Beach SLSC was already open for takeaways only.

The club will start back with a staff roster of about 20 to 21 at first, but that will rise to be more than a hundred when the club is fully reopened and able to cater for functions such as weddings.

Mr Johnson said the surf club management came up with a staff contingency fund worth "a significant amount" for stood-down casuals who did not qualify for JobKeeper.

"We notified them that if they got into any financial difficulty to send us some details … some bank details to show us that they were in desperate straits."

He said the club had provided $300 Coles vouchers, paid rent arrears and electricity bills for loyal staff members in need.

"We didn't have to, we chose to, in fact our board's been marvellous, all our employees feel blessed from the amount of support that we've got from them," Mr Johnson said.

He said the club had also worked on their acoustics in their down time to improve the surf club experience for all.