Running the Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre is not an easy task and for Jansen having the responsibility of being able to keep her staff paid without the wage subsidy is a terrifying prospect.
“To be honest, without the government assistance I would probably be sunk or close to it.
“In all likelihood, I would have had to have made them redundant.”
She said in February she put all her money from the high season into a refit for the café, turning it into Lickity Splitz ice-cream parlour.
“It was a good move for us, but it meant that when the Covid-19 crisis hit, we were woefully under-resourced.”
So, Jansen and her team have been trying to diversify by making a different curry every week.
However, she says: “Some days it sells like hotcakes, and I get very excited as we cover our costs, but other days, we hardly sell anything and as a family eat curry for dinner for more than just a few nights.”
Jansen has effectively closed the Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre for paying customers, and invites Lickity Splitz customers to wander through and see their turtle and rescue birds.
“I had leased out my other business, the Raro Reef Sub in September 2019. The lease was supposed to run for two years, but because the leasee could no longer make a living from it I allowed them to break the lease,” she said.
Jansen has also employed one staff member to help her with the Reef Sub operation – and he is on the wage subsidy, and will employ a manager next month.
She said the new manager is a wonderful worker who has been made redundant and will also be on the subsidy until it is no longer available.
“Hopefully by then we will be able to stand on our own two feet again.”
Jansen says: “The grant of $5000 will allow us to have the odd bad day where we don’t break even and allow me to pay PAYE and Superannuation for my staff.
“We are incredibly thankful to the government for the package they have put together. I also need to say a heartfelt thank you to the staff manning the task force. They have been so very helpful and kind.”