Restrictions to ease for hospitality industry

Supreme Court Bar and Restaurant owner Craig Lovett and executive chef Ieti Roma are looking forward to returning to a form of normalcy next month, with the State Government announcing restaurants, cafés and pubs will be able to welcome up to 20 customers through their doors.

Local cafés, restaurants and pubs will be able to reopen their doors next month as COVID-19 restrictions on the hospitality industry ease and businesses begin a phased re-opening.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday that as of June 1, restaurants, cafés and pubs will be able to serve meals to up to 20 customers at a time per enclosed space.

The number of customers permitted inside these eateries could increase to 50 from June 22 and to 100 from the second half of July, if COVID-19 cases don’t spike.

The next steps come with a number of precautions — including that venues will be required to take the contact details of every customer to assist in rapid contact tracing, additional cleaning, staff health and temperature checks and current social distancing restrictions will need to be adhered to.

Before each of these dates, the rates of community transmission will be checked, the ability to test, trace and respond to possible outbreaks and make sure there is an adequate safety net in the health system will also be confirmed.

“The timelines we’re announcing (on Sunday) are reliant on Victorians continuing to get tested when they show even mild symptoms and on those tests continuing to show low numbers of positive cases around the state,” Premier Andrews said.

“As we take these important steps, we must also continue to make a number of sacrifices, as the cumulative effect of easing too much too soon could undo all the hard work we have done together.”

Once in place, these changes will apply to standalone restaurants and cafés, restaurants and bistros in a pub, hotel, bar, registered and licensed club, RSL or community club.

Restrictions on other spaces within these types of venues, such as public bars and gaming areas, will remain in place throughout June, as well as restrictions on food courts.

For more on this story see Page 5 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, May 19

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