The uncertainty of the crowd situation for this year's Bathurst 1000 has local hospitality businesses eager for clearer answers.
With the event a little under five weeks away [October 15 to 18], Supercars are yet to make a final decision on crowds, which has thrown the planning process for businesses into a significant state of uncertainty.
Elephant and Castle Hotel co-owner Campbell Gibson said the venue would ordinarily be well into the planning process by now, but the uncertainty has left them unsure of what to expect.
"What needs to be realised about local venues is that we still have to work within the four square metre rule as per our COVID-safe plan and if you bring more people in, it's only going to put more pressure on us," Mr Gibson said.
"It's hard enough as it is now for venues to work within the restrictions on a weekend, and even if crowds aren't allowed at Mount Panorama, it may not stop people from coming to town."
Mr Gibson said Bathurst-based venues had a meeting with the Australian Hoteliers Association [AHA] last Tuesday, but were left with little answers due to the lack of clarity around crowds.
"What did come out of the meeting is that Supercars have a good COVID-safe plan to ensure the race can run safely," he said.
"We were surprised to hear they weren't pushing to have a crowd there, which is a good feeling, but there will be extra people in town, and it'll be a challenge to cater for everyone, as we don't want to hand out fines or be fined ourselves."
Harvest Cafe head chef and owner Chris Ringrose said he too has felt the pressure of the uncertainty from a catering perspective.
"I've got two catering jobs waiting for a final answer as the clients are scheduled to attend as spectators," Mr Ringrose said.
"The catering jobs would all normally be set in stone by now, COVID has definitely impacted the ability to plan anything at the moment."
Mr Ringrose said the catering aspect of his business has been impacted significantly by COVID-19, with many cancellations, and feels many businesses are struggling to plan accordingly for the Bathurst 1000.
"So many businesses bank on the Bathurst 1000 to get through the quieter summer months," he said.
"While I'm lucky that the cafe is still able to function, others base their whole business around catering."
"The local support for businesses has been fantastic, but the uncertainty around Bathurst 1000 crowds is only creating further stress, but in the end, we'd rather be safe than sorry."
A final decision on Bathurst 1000 crowds is expected this week.
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