New South Wales will welcome up to 50 patrons at pubs come June 1 after easing more coronavirus restrictions.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who announced the ‘big and critical’ step on Friday, hopes the changes will allow thousands of Australians to get back to work safely during the health crisis.
But the new freedom comes with greater responsibility for publicans and merrymakers to ensure there are no COVID-19 outbreaks.
Ms Berejiklian said pubs – as well as cafes, restaurants and clubs – will be subject to a strict set of rules.
‘This decision has been made with expert health advice and both businesses and patrons will be subject to strict rules and guidelines,’ she said.
New South Wales will welcome up to 50 patrons at pubs come June 1. Pictured: A barman pours a customer a bottle of beer to take away at the Hero of Waterloo pub in The Rocks, Sydney, on May 15
All patrons are required expected to stay seated and avoid mingling. Pictured: Customers dining in at the Rio, in Summer Hill, Sydney, on Friday May 15
The days of ordering a beer at the bar and standing around for a catch-up chat are likely a thing of the past.
All patrons are required expected to stay seated and avoid mingling to ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
‘Nobody will be able to be standing up in these venues,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘You have to be seated at a table, even if it’s a pub. 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 eased restrictions are subject to a one person per four square metre rule. Pictured: A man drinks his beer in Sydney’s inner west after NSW first moved to ease restrictions
FOUR SQUARE METRES PER PERSON
The eased restrictions are subject to a one person per four square metre rule, meaning smaller pubs will not be allowed to host the 50 revellers.
‘It has to be in adherence to the four-square-metre rule,’ the premier explained.
‘So, some venues are small in space… They will only be able to have as many customers as is allowed in that space according to the four-square-metre rule.’
Ms Berejiklian said bookings could not be larger than 10 people per group. Customers are seen inside The Rio in Sydney’s inner west
NO BOOKINGS OF MORE THAN 10
Ms Berejiklian said bookings could not be larger than 10 people per group.
The limit on social gatherings of 10 people remains consistent both at the pub and outdoors, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard explained.
‘There should be only 10 people outside at the moment.
‘You no longer have that constraint that you shouldn’t leave your house… but you do have a very strong constraint that is no groups bigger than 10.
‘That will apply inside and outside.
‘So, when you go to a cafe or restaurant, you certainly shouldn’t be expecting to have a large group there. It will be in select groups.’
The current restrictions in NSW allow groups of 10 to gather outside, while five people can visit a home.
NSW are looking to introduce a ‘register’ for restaurants and pubs so they can track COVID-19 outbreaks. Customers would be expected to share their name and phone number (stock image)
Mr Hazzard said NSW was ‘doing so well’ controlling the COVID-19 crisis because of their tracing capabilities.
He said they are planning to extend contact tracing at pubs and restaurants through a register for patrons.
Customers would be expected to share their name and phone number.
‘Each one of us are effectively soldiers in a war against this virus,’ Mr Hazzard said.
‘And each one of us has to be prepared to live our lives in a little bit different way as we get our old lives back.
‘In this case, it would more likely be, though – and we’re working through this with industry – that each person who goes in [to a venue] would also give their name and phone number.
‘That would certainly help keep all of us safe.’
The idea is similar to the Federal Government’s COVIDSafe app, which uses Bluetooth data to notify Australians if they have come into close proximity with a confirmed coronavirus case.
Pictured: A group of friends dine at Yama Gardens in Darlinghurst, Sydney, on May 15
NO SHARED CUTLERY OR BUFFETS
Ms Berejiklian reiterated that things will be ‘very different’ at venues as NSW slowly attempts to return to normal life.
She said buffets would no longer exist and the use of cutlery would be changed.
‘Imagine even something as simple as having joint cutlery on a table won’t be able to exist anymore,’ she said.
It’s expected that pubs will be required to remove water and cutlery stations.
NSW first began to ease their coronavirus restrictions on Friday May 15 after receiving the green light from the Federal Government
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 7,083
New South Wales: 3,084
Western Australia: 557
South Australia: 439
Australian Capital Territory: 107
Northern Territory: 29
TOTAL CASES: 7,083
While eased restrictions are a positive step for the state, the same social distancing rules and hand hygiene guidelines apply.
NSW residents are encouraged to enjoy returning to the pub with their friends as long as they continue to act sensibly.
‘If you arrive at the restaurant, the first thing you should do is use hand hygienic cleaner, or go and wash your hands,’ Mr Hazzard said.
‘Then sit down, enjoy your dinner, do what NSW residents have always done, have a great night out with your friends, but be cautious, be careful, and this will work to the advantage of the entire community, but also keep you safe.’
Pubs were shut across Australia from March 23 in a desperate attempt to control the coronavirus outbreak.
NSW first began to ease their coronavirus restrictions on Friday May 15 after receiving the green light from the Federal Government.
Up to 10 patrons were allowed to visit pubs, restaurants and cafes.
NSW earlier on Friday reported its 50th COVID-19 death after an 80-year-old woman died in Concord Hospital. Her death brings the national toll to 101.
There were three new coronavirus cases from more than 8,600 tests.