There may be no crowds at Flemington on Tuesday but Illawarra Turf Club chief executive Peter De Vries said around 1200 people will still be able to attend Cup Day racing at Kembla Grange.
It won't be the usual 4500 to 5000 but it will still be a great day at the track for those fortunate enough to book a place. But they need to get in early as most places are already booked.
"With COVID-19 we are working on one person for every 4sqm inside and outside it is one person every 2sqm. We are restricted to 300 people outside," Mr De Vries said.
"The Bert Lillye room can normally hold 450 but it will be 135 on Melbourne Cup day. Our total sit down patronage is probably down to a third of what it would normally be. Access to the lawn is restricted to people who pre-book a seat. We have been selling that with a food package and it is pretty close to capacity now."
Mr De Vries is looking forward to the day the race track can open to everyone who wants to turn up on the day. He said the turd club is trying to get the restrictions relaxed further for The Gong race day on November 21 based on the changes permitted recently for The Everest in Sydney.
In the meantime those who are lucky enough to book a seat on Tuesday can go to the rail and watch Kembla Grange races before immediately returning to their seat which is the only place they can be served alcohol. Patrons are allowed to leave their seat to use the amenities or place a bet.
"We have additional staff and COVID marshalls making sure everyone does the right thing which most people do try and do," he said.
"We have had a number of meetings now where these rules apply."
Mr De Vries said Illawarra Turf Club was grateful to have been able to continue racing all year thanks to help from Racing NSW and JobKeeper. He said betting turnover has actually increased during COVID-19, just not attendances at the track.
"But we are in the fortunate situation where we have been able to maintain our staff. We have survived and are moving ahead on a revised budget and plan of attack.
"I don't think we will have too many changes to restrictions now until early next year. We race again on the 14th and then The Gong on the 21st which is almost booked out. There are other meetings on the 28th of November and the 12th of December which have been traditionally busy race days leading into Christmas."
Mr De Vries said there are still places for reserved seating on the lawn with grazing boards at most race meetings.
"Through this process we have done things we have never done before. The team have come up with some great ideas to adapt and survive. It has been a really learning experience and it has been a real bonding experience," he said.
Mental health support
The Mental Health in the Workplace lunch for the One Door Illawarra Clubhouse raised more than $30,000 to maintain services for people with mental illness in the community in the next 12 months.
One Door Illawarra Clubhouse Committee chair Professor Frank Deane said that was important because with the pandemic there have been added mental health challenges in the community.
Prof Deane said help is available asked people to please reach out for support if they need it.
"Many organisations have Employee Assistance Programs but a visit to a GP is also a great place to start," he said.
"GPs can develop a mental health plan and facilitate access to services from psychologists supported by the Medical Benefits Scheme."
Deputy chair Janine Cullen said as a result of the lunch Wave FM breakfast personality and former Australian Idol winner Damien Leith had agreed to become One Door Mental Health's Illawarra ambassador.
Unanderra firm Leussink has invested $1 million to future-proof its workshop with an additional CNC lathe.
Managing director Jason Leussink said the new Okuma CNC Lathe will double the turning capacity in the workshop, eliminate bottlenecks and allow Leussink to increase the size of items it machines. Its advanced technology and greater capacity will help the company service heavy engineering clients with repairs, rework and specialist high-end jobs.
"We're investing in our future work," Mr Leussink said.
"Australian manufacturing is alive and well and we will continue to invest in it. We've been competing with overseas companies for years and the COVID pandemic has brought new work our way because overseas suppliers cannot always guarantee continuity of supply or the same quality that we offer."
Leussink presently employs 40 people including apprentices and believes in a future of local manufacturing using Australian materials and supporting other local businesses.
It does CNC machining, milling and turning, wire cutting, surface grinding, design, metal fabrication, welding, robotic welding, assembly, reverse engineering, power transmission repairs, equipment upgrades and parts qualification and verification.
It works across many sectors and industries including defence, manufacturing, agriculture, energy, oil and gas, mining and minerals processing, pulp and paper, heavy industry, transport, construction, civil engineering and marine.
Need A Feed Christmas soap pledge campaign
Ida Lewis, of Healthy and Radiant Skin with Ida, wants to help families in need this Christmas and plans to do that by giving to a local charity that helps local people.
Aware of how Need A Feed supports families with food and personal care items Mrs Lewis has decided to launch a Pledge a Soap campaign.
As an independent consultant her home based business sources scented soaps for sale. So she thought why not give the community the chance to help someone in need by giving them the gift of scented soap.
"People can purchase a soap from me to donate to Need A Feed and any profits will also be donated to the local charity," Mrs Lewis said.