Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes has applauded the NSW Government for its Wednesday announcement of a significant relaxation in restrictions across New South Wales.

For venues, the major change is a move from a 4sqm rule to a 2sqm rule, with no other upper caps on patron numbers. Patrons will also be able to stand while consuming food and beverages in outdoor spaces, and dancing is once more allowed for a maximum of people at any one time.

“This is an absolute game-changer for hospitality venues, and a huge step forward in our continued march towards recovery,” stated Hemmes.

“These changes will result in an immediate and substantial increase in employment and an enormous boon for business viability, while still keeping customers and staff safe.”

AHA NSW agreed that the changes would mean a big boost of employment within the industry, with the association estimating that pubs alone would be able to immediately hire up to 9000 extra staff to service the increase in capacity.

The Merivale boss thanked the state government for its efforts of the last year and urged all venues, staff and patrons to remain vigilant in the precautions needed to keep any further outbreaks at bay.

“I cannot congratulate the NSW government enough for its sensible, safe and nimble handling of the COVID crisis to date. Our state and our country are a stand out in the world and all Australians should feel extremely proud for what we have achieved.

“The key to continuing our excellent progress is rigorous adherence to QR code venue check-in and COVID-plan compliance. Venues are doing everything they can to open, reemploy staff and keep their customers safe, but it is up to all of us to do the right thing,” stated Hemmes.

“Today [Wednesday] is a real moment in history for the industry and a day of great celebration. My heartfelt thanks to the brilliant hospitality workers for their patience, hard work and unflagging optimism, and to the guests for continuing to support local restaurants and bars. Here’s to a safe and happy holiday season we’ll never forget.”

The announcement caps off a couple of good-news weeks for Merivale, after it was revealed last week that the group had acquired The DOG in Randwick for $32 million.

Image: The Newport.

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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