Fears that the COVID-19 situation in Victoria will spread nationwide have led to tough new pub rules and restrictions on hospitality venues around the country.
Melburnians are currently enduring some of the strictest lockdown conditions in the world.
Residents are only allowed to leave the house for one of four essential reasons: shopping for groceries and essential items; medical needs and caregiving; daily exercise in their local area; and work where it’s not possible to do so from home.
A citywide curfew has been implemented from 8pm to 5am every day, meaning everyone has to stay at home during those hours.
The only businesses allowed to remain open are supermarkets and grocery stores (including all food and liquor shop), fuel suppliers, pharmacies, post offices, hardware, maternity supplies, disability and health equipment, motor vehicle parts for emergency repairs, and retailers fulfilling online orders.
Pubs and bars, clubs and nightclubs are closed. Cafes and restaurants are allowed to trade, but only for takeaway service.
All restrictions will be in place until at least Sunday, September 13 for the whole state.
“We are basically looking at a nuclear bomb being detonated under the Victorian economy,” The Australian’s John Ferguson wrote on Twitter. “Two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand jobs over the six weeks but long-term losses will be so much higher.”
NSW battles significant drop in pub patrons
Fears of a second wave in NSW have dampened patronage at pubs and clubs in the state.
An on-duty Liquor and Gaming NSW COVID inspector has reported a “significant” drop in patron numbers across licensed venues since the Crossroads Hotel outbreak in NSW.
“After Crossroads, and then the restaurant at Potts Point, no one wants to go out,” the inspector told The Daily Telegraph.
“Potts Point hit home for everyone. Since then, it has been a lot quieter.
“A lot of venues are also closing earlier. No late night crowds so they’re not staying open.”
Nine News also reports there was a significant drop in pub patrons over the weekend in Sydney, with many venues closing early.
Regulations in NSW were further increased by Premier Gladys Berejiklian on July 17 following the outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel.
Under the tightened club and pub rules, all patrons must remain seated, bookings are capped at 10 people and venues must have no more than 300 people at any one time.
The Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is the latest venue to be fined $5000 for multiple breaches, including failing to follow its own COVID-19 Safety Plan. It is the 15th business to be fined in three weeks.
Queensland reinstates restrictions
The state has reinstated restrictions from July 24 for businesses to ensure all dining and drinking is for seated patrons.
Organisers of events expected to have more than 500 people have to inform the local public health unit at least 10 business days before the event taking place.
New restrictions in South Australia
On Monday, Premier Steven Marshall announced new restrictions starting from Wednesday after two new coronavirus cases were identified.
The new restrictions will see at-home gatherings reduced from 50 down to 10 people, while patrons at licensed pubs and clubs must be seated.
Marshall said: “There are more than 6000 active cases in Victoria, and we are extraordinarily concerned at the potential for seeding in other jurisdictions.”
Western Australia delays phase 5
Western Australia has delayed its move to phase 5 of its road map, which was due to be implemented on August 1.
The state has set a tentative new date for the beginning of phase 5 on August 15, but a final decision on whether this can proceed will be decided later.
Phase 5 would see remaining restrictions removed, except WA’s hard border and access to remote Aboriginal communities.
It would also see the removal of WA’s 2 square metre rule and the 50% capacity for major venues.
The state went to phase 4 on June 27, which removed requirements for people to be seated at pubs and restaurants, and the requirement to maintain a patron register at these venues.