Coronavirus: Aussies rush to book restaurants, bars as lockdown eases
After around two months, restaurants, bars, and pubs reopened in Australia's New South Wales and Northern Territory on Friday as the government eased coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Reportedly, on Friday morning, locals in the two states rushed to get a pint or a cocktail, much to the envy of the rest of the world where restaurants and bars mostly remain shut.
Pubs, restaurants, cafes, massage parlors, etc., reopen in Northern Territory
Most businesses in the Northern Territory were allowed to reopen from mid-day on Friday. The lifting of curbs impacted pubs, restaurants, cafes, massage parlors, nail salons, and yoga studios. Notably, there are no restrictions on the number of patrons that a venue can hold. However, patrons will be asked to buy a meal and they will have to leave after two hours.
NT Chief Minister among first to pour beer for himself
When the clock struck 12, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner poured a beer for himself at the Cavenagh Hotel. He told reporters, "I think I've earned one and I think a lot of Territorians out there have earned a beer as well."
'People can see light at the end of the tunnel'
Around 50 kilometers southwest of Darwin, the owner of the Berry Spring Tavern, Ian Sloan, scrambled to finish renovating the kitchen and installing extra furniture. Sloan told Reuters, "It's quite restrictive but at least it's the first stage and people can see light at the end of the tunnel." To enforce the two-hour limit, Sloan has planned to issue color-coded wristbands to patrons.
In NSW, venues allowed to open with restrictions
In New South Wales, restaurants and clubs have been allowed to have up to 10 patrons, provided they maintain social distancing of 1.5 meters between people and four square meters per person. Pubs and clubs will only be allowed to open "an eating area on the premises." Only table service for alcohol is allowed provided each patron has also ordered a meal.
Not much profit for business owners in NSW
Due to the cap on the number of patrons allowed at venues in NSW, business owners are aware they will not be making much profit from running their establishments. However, it allows the staff to get back to work and share the company of customers.
Bondi pub has waitlist of over 4,000 clients already
Owner of Bondi's The Corner House Hotel, Ben Siderowitz, told DailyMail, "I haven't slept in four days. I had to put up an out-of-office email so the notifications would stop because they were coming day and night." Over 4,000 people had booked themselves onto the venue's waitlist for $100-a-head. Siderowitz said, "Everyone is just so thirsty and desperate to get out of the house."
'Certainly won't be making money, will probably lose more'
Australian Venue Co CEO, Paul Waterson, told news.com.au, "Clearly you can't run a profitable venue with 10 patrons," expressing gratitude for the JobKeeper subsidy and supportive landlords. Waterson added, "While we certainly won't be making any money, and will probably lose a bit more than if we kept closed, it's great for staff to spend time with patrons and get back to work again."
'We'll just lose too much money'
A Sydney bar owner, Joy Ng, told The Guardian, "I sat down with my bookkeeper and we looked at the numbers and we'll just lose too much money." She added, "We can't pay out the little money we have left on losing trade."Share this timeline