The NSW Government announced this morning that restrictions will be further relaxed from December 1 when restaurants, bars and cafe with up to 200 square metres of floor space will be able to apply the two-square-metre rule indoors.
It comes on the 18th consecutive day for which New South Wales has recorded no locally acquired coronavirus cases, with just four new cases recorded in hotel quarantine.
In addition to the 2-square-metre rule, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced up to 50 people would be allowed to gather at private residences and in public spaces from December 1. From December 14, the public health order requiring employers to allow employees to work from home will also be repealed.
Up to 3,000 people can now gather for outdoor ticketed events, such as concerts, and up to 500 people can attend outdoor church services.
Ms Berejiklian said, “I hope these changes provide a boost to the hospitality industry and give people certainty in how they can celebrate safely with family, friends and colleagues over the Christmas and New Year period.”
AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Policing John Green said:
“We welcome the Government’s announcement today that further changes to the four-square-metre rule are expected to be made in the near future. A change to the two-square-metre as soon as possible is important for consistency and for the additional 9,000 hotel jobs it will create in NSW.
“Hotels are proud to have led the way with QR codes on entry to assist with contract tracing.
“AHA NSW will continue working closely with the Government to safely ease restrictions on venues where possible.”
The news comes too late for Miss Margarita’s on Byron Bay which was issued with $5,000 fine on Monday for allegedly breaching COVID’s four-square-metre rule.
Officers say there was more than one person per four square metres at the bar on Johnson Street over a two-day period and issued the venue with a find on Monday.
As Year 12 students descend upon Byron Bay from Victoria, Queensland and Greater Sydney for Schoolies, Superintendent Dave Roptell said venues need to be aware of their responsibilities in maintaining a COVID-Safe environment.
“Our specialised licensing police will continue to conduct business inspections and compliance checks throughout the entire ‘Schoolies’ and ‘Summer Safe’ operations, to ensure venues have their COVID-Safety plans up-to-date and are doing their bit to protect the Northern NSW community,” Supt Roptell said.