Cecilia Yuen

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world in unprecedented ways, shutting down whole industries and disrupting lives. However, the story of Northern Tasmania during the epidemic is one of strength, resilience and community. These values are best highlighted in the actions of Craig and Susan Richman, owners of the Bluestone Bar & Kitchen and The Sebel Launceston Hotel.

Upon evaluating the immediate impact of the pandemic on their business, Craig and Susan prioritised saving the jobs of their staff by reorganising their operations model to suit the almost 80% drop in patronage. They also took advantage of the available government support packages to sustain their operations. On their efforts to keep their team of skilled international staff on the job despite harsh economic conditions, Craig said: “I just felt that it is the right thing to do because we know how important it is retain our staff during the pandemic and how the retention of skilled workers will aid recovery afterwards.”

One of the said staff is Cecilia Yuen, a qualified chef from Hong Kong who moved to Launceston to switch careers from being a flight attendant. She attended the required Tafe course, and through the work placement programme, she landed a job with Bluestone bar & Kitchen. On what she likes about Northern Tasmania, Cecilia says she “…likes that the people are always happy to help and the environment is quiet with natural surrounds”. Cecilia’s advice to newly arrived residents is to “Be proactive and embrace the Tasmanian way of life” because according to her Northern Tasmania showcases the real beauty of regional Tasmania.

If you are new to Northern Tasmania or planning to make the move, please write to Edward Obi.