South Australian pubs, clubs and restaurants will be able to have up to 80 customers at one time from next Monday under new fast-tracked plans for venues reopening.
The rules set a maximum of 20 patrons per room, so only venues with four separate areas will be allowed the maximum 80 customers, and they will still have to enforce social distancing.
Pubs can serve alcohol without a meal from June, but patrons must be seated, while the number of people allowed at private gatherings will double from 10 to 20.
No new positive coronavirus cases have been recorded in South Australia since May 7, keeping the total at 439.
Premier Steven Marshall said the “great results” had given the Government “confidence to carefully and slowly lift restrictions” and allow for a “massive increase” in the number of patrons allowed in hotels.
Australian Hotels Association general manager Ian Horne said: “We welcome the early commencement date of June 1 and in particular the concession to allow drinking without the obligation for food.
‘There is still a long way to go but these changes are a serious step in getting hotels, pubs, clubs and bars back to a point of more viable trading.
“The commitment to work with industry to address issues around capacity and larger venues … will hasten the return of tens of thousands of stood-down employees.”
Calls to scrap meal with alcohol restrictions
While South Australia moves a step closer to business as usual, many parts of the country are still restricted to only serving alcohol with food.
Australian Hotels Association WA CEO Bradley Woods told 6PR: “There’s no connection between COVID-19 and having a meal with alcohol as some preventative antidote to not getting the virus or spreading the virus.”
He said COVID-19 shouldn’t be used as an excuse to change society’s views on liquor and he is calling for the alcohol restrictions to be scrapped to assist venues reopening.
“The health zealots that are obsessed about trying to stop people from drinking all of the time, that want WA to be a dry state, that work within the Health Department are running that agenda.
“We’ve got to ensure that doesn’t become the mandate for the future.”