Nifty 50-punter rule to in­ject beer, cheer & cash into NSW

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Front Page - ANGIRA BHARADWAJ AND JES­SICA MCSWEENEY

SYD­NEYSIDERS will raise their glasses from June 1 to a 50-punter limit on pubs, clubs and eater­ies which had Trea­surer Dom Per­rot­tet toast­ing its eco­nomic bene­fits. Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian’s re­stric­tion ease was an­nounced as it was also re­vealed bar­ri­ers would be lifted for gyms, yoga stu­dios and beauty sa­lons next month.

NEW life be­gins at 50 for co­matose pubs and clubs un­der the lat­est step to­wards a re­turn to nor­mal­ity in New South Wales.

In just over a month, hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses that have been on life-sup­port for months will be able to serve 50 cus­tomers at a time. And gyms could be next in line for good news.

The an­nounce­ment takes ef­fect from June 1 and has brought cheers to the ho­tel in­dus­try, which has been los­ing an av­er­age of $35,000 per pub per week since the coro­n­avirus lock­down and for whom the 10 pa­tron rule an­nounced last week was of lim­ited ben­e­fit.

Bar tsar Justin Hemmes, owner of the Merivale em­pire, said the an­nounce­ment was the best news he has had in months.

“I would like to com­mend the gov­ern­ment who not only acted swiftly to pro­tect our coun­try, but are now do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to help us safely re­open doors and re­build the in­dus­try,” Mr Hemmes said.

“While we are still a while away from op­er­at­ing all our venues at full ca­pac­ity, the in­crease to 50 cus­tomers is a huge leap for­ward and one that will re­sult in an ex­po­nen­tial in­crease in em­ploy­ment.”

Aus­tralian Ho­tels As­so­ci­a­tion NSW chief ex­ec­u­tive John Whe­lan said the lift was “a significan­t step” in al­low­ing busi­nesses to re­open.

“The en­tire hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor has been hard hit by the COVID-19 cri­sis with ho­tels shut down across NSW and 94 per cent of our work­force of 75,000 stood down or ter­mi­nated,” Mr Whe­lan said. “It is a com­mon sense move — it will be par­tic­u­larly wel­comed by our NSW coun­try hote­liers as re­gional NSW opens again for trav­ellers,” he said.

The change is set to re­vive the dec­i­mated din­ing scene for clubs, pubs, restau­rants and cafes, as well as in­ject­ing life back into the broader state econ­omy.

Deputy Premier John Bar­i­laro went a step fur­ther yes­ter­day and said he ex­pected more re­stric­tions to be scrapped within the next month.

Gyms, yoga stu­dios and beauty sa­lons are next on the list of busi­nesses to be al­lowed to re­turn to nor­mal­ity as COVID-19 cases re­main low across the state.

“We’re work­ing on that plan (to open gyms) as we speak now, no dif­fer­ent to yoga stu­dios, beau­ti­cians, you name it. We’re still work­ing on all of those but we’re not talk­ing Septem­ber, no way in the world,” he told 2GB.

“I’m con­fi­dent if the in­dus­try plan is right, we’ll be able to make an an­nounce­ment around that (gyms) soon. One of the ar­eas we’re con­cerned about with gyms for in­stance is sur­faces are a prob­lem.”

“We’re look­ing at all these re­stric­tions com­ing off in the next month or so,” he said.

The 50-per­son limit is still sub­ject to the one per­son per four square me­tres rule and ex­ist­ing re­stric­tions on wed­dings and fu­ner­als still ap­ply.

No book­ings of more than 10 will be al­lowed and every pa­tron will have to be seated.

Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian said that the phased re­turn to busi­ness will help to reignite the econ­omy and tackle un­em­ploy­ment.

“The de­ci­sion has been made with ex­pert health ad­vice and both busi­nesses and pa­trons will be sub­ject to strict rules and guide­lines,” she said.

Mr Bar­i­laro said the changes would

de­liver thou­sands of jobs. “I hon­estly be­lieve this is worth 50,000 jobs … this is hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to the econ­omy.”

Trea­surer Dominic Per­rot­tet said the new 50-pa­tron rule will al­low most restau­rants and bars to re­open rather than a stag­gered ap­proach of in­creas­ing the re­stric­tions to 20 peo­ple.

“In dis­cus­sions with in­dus­try … it was very clear that rather than go­ing to 20, but 50, there would be thou­sands more peo­ple in work … (it will) put a lot peo­ple back into work,” he said.

Syd­ney Busi­ness Cham­ber chief ex­ec­u­tive Kather­ine O’Re­gan wel­comed the lift in re­stric­tions but warned some venues may still wait to open with the 4m rule still pos­ing a

“chal­lenge”. “There are clearly some safety guide­lines still in place but it en­ables busi­nesses to really start to come back to life.”

Coogee Pavil­ion bar­tender Ben Wain­wright said he was look­ing for­ward to bring­ing more of his co-work­ers back do­ing what they love.

Hannah Smith said she was keen to get back to catch­ing up with her mates over a few beers. “I’m ex­cited to see my friends and come down here for a drink and feel like the world is slightly more nor­mal,” she said.

Fair­field’s Bon­deno Cafe man­ager Almir Diz­daric said: “Hav­ing a limit of 10 cus­tomers hasn’t picked up busi­ness the great­est amount, but hope­fully with 50 it’ll be bet­ter.”

Pic­ture: Sam Rut­tyn

Trea­surer Dom Per­rot­tet gets on the taps at The Squire’s Land­ing in The Rocks.

Pic­ture Ro­han Kelly

Piotr Szewczuk, Hannah Smith and Rachel Nu­volari Mos­chini with bar­tender Ben Wain­wright at the Coogee Pavil­ion.

Pic­ture: Flavio Bran­ca­le­one

Almir Diz­daric, of Bon­deno Cafe in Fair­field.

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