All venues across New South Wales will be allowed to host one person per two square metres both indoors and outdoors, with no cap on numbers, which will help thousands of people get back into work.
The measures will be in place from Monday and will also see dance floors reopen, allowing 50 people at a time and standing to be allowed outdoors.
The Premier said: “I’m very pleased to say on Monday, the four square metre rule in New South Wales will be the two square metre rule across the board.
“The only exceptions are gyms and nightclubs. So for all other venues it is the two square metre rule for both outdoors and indoors.
“Pleasingly that will also mean the caps aren’t there anymore for a number of events. So for hospitality news, there’ll be no upper cap.
“For hospitality venues, also, in an outdoor setting, we will allow people to stand, but not indoor settings.”
The Premier did say that the easing of measures was happening because NSW was doing well in its fight against COVID-19, but reminded the state’s residents and visitors to remain vigilant and to adhere to safe social distancing. She warned against complacency and said that and clusters or outbreaks could see measures tightened again.
The Australian Hotels Association NSW, was understandably delighted with the announcement, calling it an early Christmas present for the state’s hotels and staff.
AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said moving to one person per 2sqm will immediately create more than 9,000 much-needed jobs in pubs across the state – just in time for the Christmas season.
“We’re thrilled the State Government’s announcement will allow NSW hotels to immediately employ 9,000 extra staff and thousands more in the broader hospitality industry,” Whelan said.
“And after eight long months it will be great to be able to stand up and enjoy a Christmas drink with friends in your local pub’s beer garden.
“NSW hotels are proud to have led the way with QR codes and electronic tracing and have consistently gone above and beyond what is required to keep staff and patrons safe.
“AHA NSW will continue working closely with the Government to safely ease restrictions on venues where possible as community transmission rates remain low – no one wants to risk a second wave of the pandemic in NSW.”
Whelan added that the announcement was a step forward for both hotels and the wider NSW economy.
“Not only can hotels now employ more chefs, baristas and bar staff, this change will flow on to the hundreds of thousands of people indirectly employed by hotels from the local butcher to maintenance workers,” he said.
“The entire hospitality sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis with hotels shut down across NSW in March and 94% of our workforce stood down or terminated. Hotels have struggled to survive and this is another step forward in the long road to recovery.”