Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the easing of restrictions in Victoria from 11.59pm, Tuesday, 27 October. Cafes, pubs and restaurants will be able to trade with 20 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
But the lifting of restrictions, while welcome, has been criticised by the AHA as not going far enough. CEO Stephen Ferguson suggests that 75 per cent of pubs will remain closed with such a limited allowance for patronage.
“All Victorian hotels have Covid safe plans and systems in place to ensure safe environments for patrons and staff. This includes digital contact tracing, Covid Marshals, heightened cleaning and trained staff…
“This extreme limit on capacity will not see many people back at work. A reasonable first step would have been to allow pubs to recommence with one patron per four square metres indoors and one patron per two square metres outdoors.
“These are the provisions in NSW and Queensland, which have enabled venues to maintain safe social distancing whilst getting employers and employees back on their feet. The systems are in place to allow a safe and meaningful reopening – just as they are doing in other states and territories.
“Victorian hotels have the systems in place to allow a safe and meaningful reopening – today’s announcement creates a façade of reopening when in reality many doors will remain closed, keeping staff at home and out of work and employers unable to pay the bills,” he said.
However, the lifting of restrictions is welcome news for Daniel Schelbert, owner of Mister Sandrino wine bar in Hawthorn, who will be able to open for trade.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to finally have the green light to open up. The last couple of days have been an emotional roller coaster. Will we, won’t we, when? Now it’s time to reunite with all of our locals and enjoy all the things we have missed over the last 4 months, that is hospitality,” he said.
For Michael Madrusan at Made in the Shade the lift is ultimately a call to action: “Welcome back, Melbourne. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Let’s get busy.”
For the first time since June, no new cases and no deaths were recorded in the state today.
Retails stores and cafes will also be able to open.