For Oberon RSL Club, staying open is proving to be challenging but rewarding for locals

Oberon RSL Club is in many ways the heart of Oberon.

Speaking with the Oberon Review, General Manager Peter Price said times were tough, but for locals, having the club stay open has been a silver lining for many.

At the time of publishing, Oberon isn't under stay-at-home orders which is great for locals hoping to stay in touch with friends and family, but for the local club it's a hindrance they have to overcome.

"We are lucky in one way that you know, the pool of people that can come into the club - we rely not only on locals but also on a lot of people doing day trips, and other people are tourists coming through and we can't let anyone in outside from any other lockdown area," Peter said.

Oberon RSL Club manager Peter Price says he's happy to be able to stay open during the pandemic.

Oberon RSL Club manager Peter Price says he's happy to be able to stay open during the pandemic.

"So the pool of people that can come in is reduced dramatically. So business is quiet. We're open basically four and a half days at the moment. We're sort of halfway between being locked down and not being locked down, even though we're not in lockdown."

For those that are able to head to the club and get out of the house, especially their elderly customers, Peter said they've been able to go the extra mile to accomodate and help them navigate the sometimes complex process around check-ins and restrictions.

"We've got a lot of elderly that come in, and we look after them...I understand why - I get the wearing the mask in the club, and all that sort of thing and the rules and regulations of getting into the club - it's just a bit of a tedious but necessary thing that they have to do to get in but once they're in, you know, it's great, you know, they they enjoy the camaraderie of the local members and that," Peter said.

"The regulations have changed so much over the last 18 months. People just don't know what they're supposed to do what they're not supposed to do anymore."

Peter lamented the fact they've had to make some tough calls and postpone or cancel live music and some planned shows but said the club is committed to bringing back the entertainment as soon as they're able.

"We're one person per four square meters in the club at the moment. So that cuts, obviously, our profitability down to a quarter of what we could get previously," he said.

Peter Price said renovations are underway while the club is quiet.

Peter Price said renovations are underway while the club is quiet.

"We'd say, yeah, as far as live entertainment goes here, it's basically on hold until further notice, which is terrible, for the entertainers I mean they've got no work at all, and no hope of getting out of it at the moment."

Peter said he hopes once lockdowns are eased and people are able to travel again that they'll come to places like Oberon and support small clubs. Likewise with locals who are eager to enjoy a bistro lunch and some live music again.

"We've got a strong core local membership that will come no matter what like they always have done, they always will support the club," he said.

"And that's evident with the Friday night raffles which was really good turnover on Sunday afternoon, that was a good turnout. That's the main core of membership that come in, and the lady bowlers and the men bowlers can get back on the green now we're gonna have 20 on the green at the time. So that's great.

"I think once it starts to open up and people from the city and people can travel, I think it's a safer bet than trying to get into, like Victoria or Queensland or even go overseas when the borders can shut in an instant."

Peter said last year saw one of the busiest ever weekends for the club, and the secret? Snow.

"There's so many people that have not seen snow before. And they just want to see the snow. They want to play in it. They want jump in it. And they want to have fun in it. Yeah, we had over 1000 people a day through the club. It was horrific to tell you the truth," Peter laughed.

"I think everything's, you know, it's basically - in the old term - 'suck it and see', you don't know what's happening."

Oberon RSL Club is operating from four o'clock Wednesday, and then from midday Thursday, Friday and Saturday until late each week, restrictions pending.