The Tasmanian Government is being called on to review and ease some of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions after 117 days without an active case and conditions being tougher than COVID-active states.
The Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) is imploring the State Government to stand up for hospitality operators and relieve the seated drinking restrictions indoors and allow for at least limited numbers to dance.
THA CEO Steve Old said: “It is illogical how long these restrictions have been in place. Operators and the general public continue to be mystified as to why our Health Department continue to sit on their hands, despite the progressive easing of restrictions in other states with far more recent COVID-19 cases.”
While New South Wales currently has just one active case, just two weeks ago this number was at 12, and still the state Premier has pressed ahead with easing hospitality restrictions and from today one person per two square metres is allowed, the cap on venue-patron numbers has been removed and dancing and standing up outside is also allowed.
Old said the ongoing restrictions in Tasmania are unreasonable.
“New South Welshmen can dance, Queenslanders can stand up and drink indoors and outdoors, and Western Australians have basically been restriction-free for over five months. Venues and patrons have proved that they can and will comply with contact tracing requirements. What else do they need us to do to get these restrictions eased?
“This should be the busiest time of the year for operators and a chance for them to accelerate the recovery from such a tough period, but venues are still questioning their viability.”
The THA said that Tasmania’s venue operators are essentially facing three ‘winters’ in a row with no confidence that this summer will be any busier than the notoriously quiet winter period. That means operators won’t see a summer until this time next year.
In addition many venues and hire companies have missed out on bookings for Christmas and end of year functions which is a primary part of their trade at this time of year.
“We just hope the Government is looking at this now so that those venues might still get a couple of weeks’ worth of functions in before Christmas and during the New Year period,” Old said.
“The Government are basically encouraging people to celebrate at home where there are no restrictions, no regulations and no stimulation of the industry or the economy.”