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Premier Daniel Andrews is prepared to reopen restaurants, cafes and pubs (minus bar service), but there are tight restrictions on spacing and service. Here’s what you need to know.
On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that restaurants, cafes and pubs (minus bar service) could reopen for dining on June 1. The announcement provided some relief to the struggling hospitality industry by outlining a roadmap for lifting restrictions across the industry.
Venues will be able to resume dine-in service for up to 20 customers, as long as tables are spaced at least 1.5 metres apart and there’s four square metres of space per person. From June 22, depending on coronavirus case numbers, that limit could increase to 50 patrons, then up to 100 by the second half of July. There hasn’t yet been an announcement on reopening bars or allowing venues to offer bar service.
Andrews stressed that restrictions will only be relaxed if Victoria is effectively managing the pandemic and citizens are following social-distancing rules.
“The timelines we’re announcing today are reliant on Victorians continuing to get tested when they show even mild symptoms and on those tests continuing to show low numbers of positive cases around the state,” Andrews said.
While the thought of eating at our favourite restaurants again is cause for excitement, businesses must have strict new measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
In addition to the spacing rules, extra cleaning will be required, as well as staff health screenings and temperature checks. Diners must provide their full name and phone number for contact tracing if an outbreak occurs. And some venues are taking extra measures to maximise safety, such as laminating menus, instituting time limits on dining, and using disposable cutlery.
Many venues will likely go cash-free, provide hand sanitiser to staff and customers, and stop using communal condiments.
Victorians are still required to work from home if they’re able to, and are urged to stay home unless it’s necessary to go out.
Photography: Rebecca Newman