Excited punters will be gearing up for pubs to reopen as New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced further easing of coronavirus restrictions.
From June 1, pubs and restaurants can have up to 50 patrons at once, meaning poker machines will be back in action as well.
A government spokesman told Daily Mail Australia pokies can reopen as long as the food is being served and the venue is adhering to the 50 people per venue rule.
He said it is subject to Health Orders and the agreement with industry that they can meet the stringent safety measures.
John Whelan, chief executive of the NSW Australian Hotelier Association, has welcomed move, calling it an ‘important and positive step forward’.
Gamblers have saved up to $1.5 billion in the weeks since pubs, clubs and casinos were forced to close on March 23 to slow the spread of COVID-19. The move left up to 75,000 NSW hotel staff out of work.
Australians have saved $1.5 billion by not using poker machines (pictured) in the last month
Large restaurants, such as Sydney’s world-renowned Mr Wong (pictured) will also be forced to close
‘Today’s announcement relates to all operating areas, if patrons are seated then all actives in a hotel are on the table and that means either having a bet with your mates on Saturday afternoon or having a meal,’ Mr Wheelan told Daily Mail Australia.
‘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.
‘Hoteliers have rightly put the health and safety of staff, patrons and the community first as we battle together to contain the spread of COVID-19, but the virus has devastated hotels and our workforce.
‘Today is a significant step forward on the road to recovery for our industry and a welcome kick-start to the NSW economy.
‘We look forward to the day when we can safely fully re-open, re-employ our staff and pour a cold draught beer for our loyal patrons.’
Under the relaxed rules, clubs and RSLs with multiple restaurants, cafes or bars on site can have 50 patrons at each venue.
Pictured: An Eastern Sydney sports bar in Kensington closed amid the coronavirus crisis
Gamblers have saved up to $1.5 billion in the weeks since pubs, clubs and casinos were forced to close on March 23 to slow the spread of COVID-19
Customers will have to be seated at tables and must have four square meters per person, meaning smaller bars and cafes will not be able to fit 50 people inside.
There will also be no buffets or shared cutlery and bookings will be limited to 10 people.
Diners will have to register their name and phone number when they enter the premises so they can be contacted in the event of an outbreak.
The announcement comes a week after cafes and restaurants were allowed to reopen with a maximum of 10 customers.
On Friday, Ms Berejiklian said there would be strict guidelines in place to ensure soical distancing measures are maintained.
‘You have to be seated at the table, you have to be served at the table.’
‘There is no mingling, no standing around. There are strict guidelines in place, which will ensure that we can do this safely.
The Premier said she made the move to get Australians back into work after 210,000 lost their jobs in the state in April.
There will be no buffets or shared cutlery and bookings will be limited to 10 people
‘We are making sure people aren’t long-term unemployed, and that we can bounce back from the devastating economic shock,’ she said.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the move was a big boost for regional areas.
‘It’s our happy hour, time to wine and dine,’ he said.
‘We want to see people visiting the regions visiting hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes.
‘Today’s announcement will allow regional businesses and economies to embrace, with the opening up of travel, the opportunity for businesses right into the June long weekend to fill their registers.’
‘A morale boost and the additional economic stimulus provided by pubs and clubs is what our communities need and I look forward to enjoying a beer in the bush with locals very soon.’
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the Government was moving to swiftly and safely get businesses back in business and people back to work.
‘There are about 280,000 people employed in this sector of the economy and allowing venues to safely cater for more customers will provide another boost to business and jobs,’ Mr Perrottet said.
‘NSW is opening back up for business, and as we ease restrictions everybody needs to follow the health and safety guidelines, to ensure we make it a success and can continue.’