When the construction sector went into lockdown on Monday one business owner who was not completely surprised was Nick Halakatevakis, of Innovatus Projects.
Mr Halakatevakis had suspected the only way to get COVID-19 case numbers down in NSW might be a tougher restriction on movements to ensure a shorter lockdown for everyone.
But he also knew what impact the NSW Government decision to go harder would have on those working in the construction industry.
And decided to do something to give them at least one reason to smile and acknowledge them on their first day without work.
So he put $500 on the bar at His Boy Elroy for them to get a free takeaway burger on Monday.
"I thought a few tradies might be a bit upset about losing work and it would probably be good to do something to put a smile on their face," he said.
Mr Halakatevakis also knew his kind gesture would help hospitality workers by creating more work and helping them feel good about doing something that would help employees in another important sector of the community.
"I thought the best way to do that was a free lunch on us," he said.
"We all work hard and do the hard yards. And by doing this the construction workers know the community hasn't forgotten about what they do."
Mr Halakatevakis chose the Keira Street burger joint because he has been a long supporter of Bar Stool Brothers, a group where men can meet regularly to openly talk about their mental health without fear of being judged.
He knows how important it is for people to know someone cares and understands.
And hoped by offering a free burger if would help lift the spirits of those in his industry facing two weeks without work.
He had such a positive response many shared their gratitude on social media.
Which got him to thinking about who else he might be able to help at this difficult time.
"I was contemplating last night about doing one for the COVID workers who are busy testing people during the present increase in Delta strain coronavirus cases in NSW," he said.
"We are looking at doing that towards the end of this week. Part of our business is giving back to the community to say thank you."
Innovatus is a fit-out and refurbishment company that does work for the retail and hospitality sector as well as other businesses wanting to upgrade work spaces.
It not only employs 10 people directly and works with around 20 different sub-contractors .
Mr Halakatevakis said he is presently paying his employees to work from home where they are helping with administration and paperwork and using the downtime time constructively to come up with new processes and practices for jobs sites.
"And we are looking at how we can provide a better experience for customers," he said.
"Our site foremen and project managers are getting together with staff virtually to plan and talk about how we can help clients by getting their jobs done quickly when we are able to return to worksites. We want to be as time effective as possible for our customers."
Mr Halakatevakis said the present lockdown was different to last year when it was able to keep skeleton crews on site.
"It took longer to complete each project but were able to keep going," he said.
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