South Australian pubs will be allowed to reopen early, with the South Australian government relaxing COVID-19 restrictions for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Stage two of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions will come into effect on June 5, with up to 10 people able to dine indoors and 10 outdoors at pubs, restaurants and cafes. Alcohol will now be able to be served too.
Previously, South Australia intended to only begin allowing 10 outdoor diners at venues, with no alcohol, from June 8.
“You’ll be able to enjoy a meal indoors and a glass of wine indoors [for] up to 10 [people],” Premier Steven Marshall said.
“So we’re going to be changing the arrangements that we announced just two weeks ago — now instead of just 10 outside the cafes ad restaurants, it will be 10 indoors, 10 outdoors.”
Marshall said the decision was in response to the wishes of the South Australian public.
“We know that it would be great for regional South Australia, we know it would be great for businesses in metropolitan Adelaide,” he said.
“They want to move to stage two sooner than the Monday of the long weekend.”
Wineries, cellar doors, breweries and distilleries can sell takeaway alcohol and food from today. However, tasting will still not be allowed.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens added: “The mid-step that’s been announced today … has been enabled by the way restaurants and cafes have undertaken the first stage.
“We’ve seen significant compliance, and significant efforts on the part of those businesses to do the right thing.”
The state government has provided $5.5 million cash to train workers in the hospitality sector ahead of South Australian pubs, clubs and restaurants reopening.
The online course will provide advice around issues such as hygiene and social distancing.
However, the owner of Norwood’s Robin Hood Hotel (pictured main), Matthew Binns, told ABC News he would need a minimum of 50 people in his pub to make it viable to open on June 5.
“We’re going to lose less money by staying closed,” he said.
“We’re racking up plenty of debts being closed as it is and I think the problem we’ve got is some of the people making decisions on our transition committee are out of touch with the reality of small business and the pain they’re going through.”
Australian Hotels Association state head Ian Horne said up to 20% of South Australian pubs would be wiped out by the pandemic within a year.
“The longer hotels are unable to trade in any meaningful way … there’ll be more casualties. There’s an accumulation of debt and people’s cash is being chewed up by just the normal cost of maintaining a premises,” Horne told The Adelaide Advertiser.
“We’ve survived world wars and the Great Depression but this is probably the single biggest social and economic challenge the hotel industry’s ever faced.”