Victorian pubs finally have clarity on when they can start trading again, with Premier Dan Andrews announcing he is finally easing restrictions in the state.
Bistros in Victorian pubs will be allowed to open for 20 diners on June 1, 50 diners on June 22, then 100 diners by mid-July.
Physical distancing requirements will continue to apply, meaning each person will need four square metres of space, and tables will need to be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart.
“The public bar won’t be open,” Andrews said. “It will be the bistro restaurant dining part of the pub. People will be able to go and have a meal. If they choose to have a beer with that then that’s all good.”
Patrons will be required to leave their name and phone number in case there is a virus outbreak.
“This will only work if those who are going out to a cafe, or those who are going out for a meal at a restaurant, or going to the bistro in a pub, actually follow the rules,” Andrews said.
He said if the rules were not followed there would be more coronavirus cases and tougher restrictions may need to come back.
“If we see spikes, if we see people not doing the right thing and therefore an increase in the number of cases … then these settings could change,” he said.
Victorian pubs celebrate getting back to work
The AHA’s Paddy O’Sullivan said the announcement was “a great step in the right direction” for Victorian pubs.
“The feedback we’re getting is that people are just itching to get back to their local,” he said. “It’s a sense of community for them and many of Victoria’s pubs and hotels pride themselves on being the epicentre of their local community.”
Australian Venue Company CEO Paul Waterson told ABC News: “We’re really excited to get that date, we’ve been waiting for a couple of weeks hoping to hear positive news. Even though it’s only 20 patrons it’s good to start somewhere.
“With 20 patrons you definitely won’t make money, but I think it’s important to give a focal point for the community to come back to the pub, get our staff back to work, so if the rule is 20 we’ll open on that basis.”
Pictured main: The Garden State Hotel, Melbourne.