Renovations at the Tattersalls Hotel in Casino during lockdown. PIC: CONTRIBUTED
Renovations at the Tattersalls Hotel in Casino during lockdown. PIC: CONTRIBUTED

'I'll open the doors anyway': Casino pub owner

PUB owner Craig Lusby describes himself as "a silly, old publican with five pubs who's going broke."

Mr Lusby owns the Oxford and Tattersalls Hotels in Casino and leases out three other pubs and calls his hotel empire The Grogfather Group.

The state's lockdown is costing him dearly

READ: How farmers are faring in lockdown

"I've had to pay out $90,000 in wages to get $10,000 back in income," Mr Lusby said.

The pubs he leases used to pay $4000 a week but now have free rent.

"Publicans are the new Centrelink of Australia," he said.

If the government restrictions aren't lifted by June 1, Mr Lusby is going to open the pub doors anyway.

"Who cares if you get fined," he said.

"We need four people to run a kitchen and I have 15 staff on Jobkeeper."

Tattersalls Hotel in Casino. PIC: SUSANNA FREYMARK
Tattersalls Hotel in Casino. PIC: SUSANNA FREYMARK

Mr Lusby said they could have still been making money during the virus restrictions.

"You can go into Woollies or a bakery," he said.

"During the day we have less than 20 people in the hotel at any one time."

He reckoned with social distancing and "no kissing or hand shaking," pubs could re-open and adhere to social distancing rules.

The lockdown has impacted heavily on card playing at the pubs and even if they open, social distancing will prove difficult for the game.

"The biggest thing in hotels since pool tables is playing Texas Hold-em poker," Mr Lusby said.

"One of the big issues is they sit eight to a table and you can't be a metre and a half to play cards."

The Tatts Hotel is currently closed and undergoing renovations while the Oxford does takeaway meals.

Mr Lusby has employed a Casino based concreter, electrician and other tradespeople.

His pub staff are helping with the renovations.

"Some of them have never painted in their life," he said.

"I had to give them something to do."



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