Returning to pubs a big morale boost
LITTLE more than a day ago, hoteliers were pleading to be allowed to reopen before the June long weekend for at least 50 patrons.
The Australian Hotels Association warned the sector had already been hit hard with job and financial losses triggered by the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, saying more was to come without decisive action.
Just hours after The Advertiser’s front-page report of their demands hit the streets, Premier Steven Marshall announced pubs would be able to reopen from June 5, ahead of the long weekend, rather than June 8.
This easing of restrictions matched some of the hoteliers’ demands, but they are rightly questioning why cafes and restaurants can serve alcohol to up to 20 diners from tomorrow – but they have to wait.
Hoteliers also will have to wait for details of how many patrons they will be able to host. This might well be up to 50 but hoteliers want clarity on whether this limit applies to the entire pub or segments, such as function rooms, bistros and bars, which also seems fair enough. Even so, shifting forward the easing of pub restrictions by a few days was sensible and pragmatic.
The benefits for regions will go beyond putting some much-needed dollars into pubs. Dining options will be expanded, greatly adding to the appeal for holiday-makers.
There is something quite enticing about popping into a country pub for a meal and drink.
As prominent publican Mark Ricciuto argues, it will be a long time before some pubs start turning a profit. This measure is more about the first step on the pathway back to normal life.
Jobs can return, along with the social interaction of going to the pub.
Like the rest of society, hoteliers are wary of a second wave of coronavirus. Nobody wants to see another shutdown, which creates a powerful impetus for adhering to necessary social distancing and hygiene measures. Finally, a responsible return to pubs is in sight – a major step in job and business recovery.