Walt & Burley Hotel

Backlash over ACT pub restrictions

May 27, 2020
By Alana House

Drinks industry bodies are frustrated that ACT pub restrictions only allow venues to serve up to 20 people per enclosed space from Saturday.

Under the plan, cafes, pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants cannot exceed one person per four square metres, including staff.

Nightclubs are still not slated to reopen until the final phase of the recovery plan.

The plan differs from NSW pub restrictions, where up to 50 people will be allowed in cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs from June 1.

Opposition Leader Alistair Coe told the Canberra Times: “It is extremely complex and leaves many questions unanswered.

“It begs the question – how is it that Queanbeyan can do one thing and the ACT can do something totally different – both claim to be following national cabinet guidelines.

“As it stands we have two sets of rules – one across the border in NSW and one here in the territory, which the Chief Minister repeatedly said was an undesirable outcome.”

Clubs ACT CEO Gwyn Rees said: “Following the NSW model would have meant 2000 Canberra club employees would have returned to work.

“What we have heard today means further uncertainty for at least another six weeks.”

Ducks Nuts Bar & Grill
Ducks Nuts Bar & Grill

Australian Hotels Association ACT president Anthony Brierley added: “This new limit is going to benefit some larger venues, and not make much difference for smaller licensed premises.”

Should these measures not result in any significant increase in cases across the Territory,  the Government will move into the next phase of its recovery plan on 11:59pm, June 19. This phase will see maximum occupancy limits in some sectors, including hospitality, increase to 50 people per enclosed space. 

Pictured main: Walt & Burley Hotel.

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