The sky fell in on the entire hospitality industry two weeks ago - the prime minister announced pubs and clubs must close their doors to enforce social distancing, and only takeaway and delivery was allowed.
Ballarat's thriving restaurants and bars were not immune, but, as Commerce Ballarat chief executive Jodie Gillett is fond of saying, Ballarat businesses are renowned for being nimble and collaborative.
Stalwarts across town have taken stock of the situation and unveiled new ways to keep trading, keep staff on the books, and keep the lights on for the moment, despite the absence of foot traffic.
Some have also stepped up to help the broader community where they can - as well as providing a bonus shift for a kitchen team, they're feeding those in need and those who couldn't fathom cooking after clocking off at the hospital.
Armstrong Street North institution Campana's took a fortnight to accelerate its plans for an online store, complementing its takeaway coffee and sandwiches, and its traditional Italian deli business.
A family business for three generations, deli manager Meg Campana said it was important for an independent to stay open like the bigger chain players.
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"Particularly for our Nonno, our grandfather - it's very special that we're still open," she said.
"We've been here since 1976, we've survived the tidal waves of chain liquor stores, and the gourmet delicatessens coming into chain supermarkets."
The trickiest part of the pivot into online delivery was cataloging and photographing the stock - the hundreds of bottles of wine and exotic beers.
"The pressure to social distance pushed us into gear to get the website up a little bit quicker," she said.
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"We've never really had an online presence like this before, we're overwhelmed."
She advised other businesses to stick together and think creatively.
"A customer said to me the other day, and it's resonated with me, the businesses that are being innovative will survive - I understand that not everyone has an opportunity to be innovative, and it's easier said than done, but it's about working with what you've got and how you can continue your service to the Ballarat community and survive," she said.
"When you're a small business, you depend on yourself, and the bills don't stop coming.
"In this situation, the power of social media and particularly Instagram, has been massive - it takes maybe one photo of someone with a coffee checking in and people say "oh, that place is still open"."
The current restrictions on public gatherings has also severely affected catering - there aren't many big functions on the cards.
Peter Ford, head honcho at Peter Ford Catering, quickly saw an opportunity to reopen an older venture - The Real Meal.
It's restaurant-quality food, delivered to your door, he said, using as much locally-sourced produce as he can get his hands on.
The industry will bounce back eventually, but not everyone will survive unless their business is already sound, he added.
"We're doing pretty well, doing a big load into Melbourne next week, and we're getting around the local areas," he said.
"It's important to feed the masses, and keep in touch with our punters, and they feel good about it too, they feel they're supporting a small business to get us through as well."
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Mr Ford said he would be pragmatic about the next few months, but for now was "forging ahead".
Hitting the pub on the weekend for a parm is also off-limits, heartbreakingly, but several Ballarat hotels have unveiled takeaway menus - some even offering takeaway growlers full of beer.
At Freight, on Mair Street, owner Chris Sargent is going a step further with his takeaway service.
"We've moved everything to takeaways, there's two types, normal food we'd serve in the pub, and also pre-made meals, that's where you order one to eat now or freeze for later," he explained.
That's particularly important for healthcare workers, he said, who might not be able to make it to the supermarket and are after some comfort food.
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He's also begun an initiative to help out the Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre - customers can pay for a meal that will be distributed to struggling families and the homeless.
"We've had a really good response, and every Friday it all gets picked up and dispersed to people in need," he said.
"The support from the wider community is amazing - it's heartening to see how caring and giving people are."
Mr Sargent admitted he was concerned about projections for the crisis lasting six months or longer, even with the Jobkeeper payments from the government, but said businesses should keep on top of the constantly changing conditions.
"Move with the times, operate within boundaries and do what you can do," he said.
"We're staying on top of the cleaning and hygiene, and people can't come in, they have to go to the front door, we've set up a counter there."
It's important to keep in mind hundreds of people have also lost their jobs, or have had their hours cut, since the crisis began, but by changing operations quickly, businesses could staunch the cuts early and ensure they would be trading when the restrictions are lifted, thus making sure the employees could return to a job.
Ms Gillett said it was important for people in hospitality to remain positive.
"It's challenging for them to make that a viable option, but they're doing a really good job, and it's an opportunity for people in Ballarat to still have their favourite food from home," she said - Ballarat's own food delivery service Delivr has also stepped up, she added.
While the City of Ballarat had relaxed some regulations, it was also important to understand any other restrictions, like insurance and employees in vehicles.
"If people have specific questions, get in touch and we'll source it, we'll find out the right person for them to talk to," she said.
There are also dozens of free resources, including FAQs, livestreamed chats with experts, and guides on the Commerce Ballarat website.
Remember to keep a 1.5 metre distance from others at all times, and only leave the house when absolutely necessary - the state government rules are for healthcare, essential supplies, exercise, or for work and education.
For more information on COVID-19, visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus or phone the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice if you are displaying symptoms.
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