WE'LL BE BACK: The Eidsvold Star Hotel publican Kinta Gitsham and bartender Lani Reid. Picture: Sam Turner
WE'LL BE BACK: The Eidsvold Star Hotel publican Kinta Gitsham and bartender Lani Reid. Picture: Sam Turner

‘We’ll be back’: Eidsvold pub to close indefinitely

JUST two weeks after coronavirus restrictions came into place for licensed venues, this popular Burnett pub has now had to close its doors.

The Star Hotel Eidsvold has been an institution in the North Burnett for decades, but will now be shut for the foreseeable future as of April 3.

After being licensed for the first time in 1896, the pub has only closed twice before due to a fire in 1961, and the floods in 2013.

Now in the wake of the pandemic, publicans Kinta and Rick Gitsham have said it's just not viable to continue operating in the country town while these laws were in place.

"We've made a decision to save our business, in order to conserve everything for when we can open after this is over," Mrs Gitsham said.

Pubs across the nation have been restricted to selling takeaway food and alcohol, with the new regulations impacting their businesses greatly.

For the Star, their main source of income was from alcohol sales over the bar, and the pokies.

"We've spoken to a few pubs and they're saying that if they could shut they would, because no one is making money out of this.

"It's just servicing the community at this point, and if we were in a better position we'd stay open, but we just can't."

Kinta Gitsham, Max Chapman and Rick Gitsham at the Catherine Britt Bush Pubs Tour in Eidsvold. Picture: Sam Turner
Kinta Gitsham, Max Chapman and Rick Gitsham at the Catherine Britt Bush Pubs Tour in Eidsvold. Picture: Sam Turner

Prior to the pandemic, the Star had recently hosted Australian country music sensation Catherine Britt, and had been gearing up for the Eidsvold Camp Draft.

"We were lucky to get Catherine Britt, as she wasn't booked for the night after our concert, and then her whole tour ended up being cancelled," Mrs Gitsham said.

"Because of this, we now have all of this left over stock that has carried over."

"Even the people we buy our alcohol from, they're in the same boat as us. They're chasing money too because of the entire situation.

"It's a vicious cycle."

The future of the Star's eight staff is currently unknown, with only one of them eligible for the workers' stimulus wage.

Bartender Lani Reid is one of the employees now uncertain about her future, after starting at the pub in January.

"I originally moved down here to find a job during the wet season as I was previously working on cattle stations in the Kimberly," Ms Reid said.

"I was only planning on staying here for a little bit but I thought the place was perfect, and they offered me work until August."

Ms Reid found out about the pub closures two weeks earlier on social media, saying she felt ill after hearing the Prime Minister's address.

"I felt sick when I heard that," she said.

"Now what am I meant to do?"

Publicans Kinta and Rick Gitsham taking over the management of the Star Hotel in 2018. Picture: Mackenzie Colahan.
Publicans Kinta and Rick Gitsham taking over the management of the Star Hotel in 2018. Picture: Mackenzie Colahan.

"We just have to conserve what we have at the moment, because my gut feeling is that it will be months until we can trade normally again," Mrs Gitsham said.

Mrs Gitsham and her husband Rick have been operating the pub since August 1, 2018, and even with the current crisis, they're optimistic they'll come out on the other side.

"We just have to conserve what we have, just to survive so we can open in the near future," Mrs Gitsham said.


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