A setback is not the same as failure. It’s just a learning opportunity for us to strengthen and move forward with renewed commitment.

At time of writing, a return to stage three restrictions in Melbourne [and now stage four] has returned many businesses and individuals into a state of uncertainty, while the rest of the country is starting to open back up to domestic tourism. We all remember how difficult the first few weeks of these restrictions were for us across the country. Hopefully, this sacrifice by the Victorian community will be successful, prevent further lockdowns in other regions, and enable the full Australian community to be on the road to recovery leading into summer holidays.

However, despite the gloom, I personally remain positive for our members and our communities at large. Throughout this pandemic, I’ve been blown away by the compassion of our industry and members. Despite their own struggles, people and businesses have done what they can for their customers, suppliers, co-workers, employees, and the wider community. From making meals for those doing it tough to providing support to our international community that has missed out on Australia’s robust safety net provided by JobKeeper and JobSeeker.

At the Australian Specialty Coffee Association, we’ve thought about what we can do to make things better. The first step we wanted to take was to make things easier for our members.

Many baristas have lost work or hours but want to remain involved in the specialty coffee community. The same goes for the enthusiasts that, at the end of the day, buy the coffee our members and industry are brewing. Even those on JobKeeper may have lost income or be uncertain about their future.

For those who have been affected by or had loss of employment due to COVID-19, or are on JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments, ASCA is offering a 50 per cent discount to individual memberships, under the Barista and Enthusiast categories.

The discount is available to new memberships and sign ups, or any renewals from March 2020 onwards. People who qualify but have already paid for their membership can request a rebate in the ASCA Member Area.

For more information about the discount, please send an email to baristaguild@aasca.com

This amended article first appeared in the August 2020 edition of BeanScene.