You’re all doing really well with Covid-19 and with our numbers increasing only slightly in some states and decreasing daily in others – it’s time to celebrate. A great way to do that is to start getting life back to normal again, catching up with friends and family, and heading out to support local businesses.
Venues, in particular, have been doing it tough with the majority of pubs, restaurants and clubs closing entirely during the past few months. Others have lost a large portion of their income by going take-away only. But now, the hard work has paid off and we’re opening doors again! Before you get too excited though, there will be a lot of changes ahead, so keep reading to find out where we stand, and where we’re headed!
While each State follows it’s own rules when it comes to the stages of opening to the public, here’s where they currently stand:
New South Wales: Pubs, cafes and restaurants are currently open to 10 patrons at a time (seated), or for take-away service. Bars and gaming remain closed. There must be 1.5 metres between patrons. From June 1, they will be able to have up to 50 customers provided there is one person per four square metres. Bookings of more than 10 people per group are not allowed.
Victoria: Pubs, clubs and restaurants reopen on June 1 for up to 20 seated patrons. Bars will remain closed. On June 22, the number will increase to 50 patrons, and up to 100 patrons by mid-July.
Queensland: Dining currently extends to 10 people seated in restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs. Starting June 12, this will increase to 20 patrons. Gaming remains closed. Cinemas and entertainment venues will also open mid-June. Stage 3, which will see 100 people in one space, is expected to start mid-July.
South Australia: Starting June 1, South Australian dining venues are allowed to seat 80 customers at a time, provided they have space for social distancing. Otherwise, the limit is 20 people per room.
Northern Territory: The NT was the first State to reopen pubs and restaurants. Opening on May 15, venues opened to give patrons a two-hour window for in-house dining. Gaming remains closed. There is no limit on patron numbers as long as social distancing is adhered to. From June 5, all businesses, including night clubs and pokies, are set to reopen with no two-hour limit.
Western Australia: Pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and the casino are all open for up to 20 in-house dining patrons at a time. Gaming is closed and alcohol is only served with meals.
Tasmania & ACT: Pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants are open for 10 customers seated. Bar and gaming remain closed. Alcohol is only served with meals. Numbers to increase to 20 patrons mid-June.
Keep an eye on your state government and local news to remain updated as these numbers increase.
Aside from the number of patrons who are allowed to sit down in a venue, and the continued closure of bars and gaming areas, there are other changes in place in many venues that you need to take into consideration.
Hygiene: The Australian Hotels Association implemented a new recommended health and safety standard for members. This includes:
- Social distancing (see below)
- Minimising standing room
- Keeping windows open to ensure fresh air flow during opening hours
- Staff to complete health declarations
- Use of disposable gloves by staff
- Frequent cleaning on all frequently touched surfaces, including door handles and bathrooms
- Emptying rubbish bins more regularly
- Sanitising tables and seats
- Encouraging hand sanitiser use among patrons
Social Distancing: Covid-19 is known to be transmitted by direct contact with someone who has or carries the virus. Sometimes these people may have no symptoms, however, if they were to sneeze or cough on you and you inhale those droplets, you can become very ill. To prevent this, it’s recommended you stay 1.5 metres away from other people, except those in your household (unless they are sick themselves). Recommendations also include avoiding crowds and mass gatherings, avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, no shaking hands or hugging, and no visiting of vulnerable people. In terms of venues, the law states they must be able to maintain social distancing, allowing 1.5 metres of floor space per person.
Attendance Tracking: You’ve probably already walked into the supermarket to see someone standing at the door, clicking a tracker every time someone walks past. This is to ensure the number of people in the store doesn’t exceed the amount of space – and limitations of one person per 1.5 metres. As clubs, restaurants and pubs reopen, you’ll also no doubt see these there as well as you walk through the door. If these venues have more people inside than legally allowed, they face fines of up to $7,000. Venues may also record your name and telephone number upon entry in order to track and inform the spread of the virus if there is an outbreak.
Menu Changes: If you love heading out for a big buffet breakfast, or joining your friends for some share platters at your local tapas restaurant – unfortunately, it’s all just a memory (for now). Due to social distancing measures, we can no longer share our food and many restaurants will be changing their menu to suit. As such, restaurants, seafood buffets and hotel breakfast buffets will need to replace buffet options with menu ordering – at least for the time being.
Payments: Since reopening, many restaurants have already started requesting contactless payments and some are introducing no-cash policies entirely. Reports recently stated that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had stated “banknotes may be spreading” the virus, although WHO was quick to rebut that – saying they simply said people should wash their hands after handling money. Regardless, cashless payments will allow patrons to stay further away from those behind the counter (no hand-to-hand contact), reducing the risk of transmission.
There’s no doubt that the above measures will hurt businesses, but here’s the thing – the sooner we all abide by the rules, the sooner things can get back to normal again!
For up to date advice and guidelines around venues reopening
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