The Victorian Government has announced that venues will be allowed to open from June 1, as part of a staged plan to reopen the state’s hospitality industry. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday revealed the change which will apply to pubs and bars that offer dining. 

He said: “From June 1, cafes, restaurants, the dining component of the pub, will be able to have 20 patrons per enclosed space. From the 22nd of June, so three weeks later, those patron limits will go up to 50 and in mid July, so three to four weeks after that big jump to 50 patrons, we would look to move to 100 patrons per enclosed space.”

Andrews describes a “long and extensive set of rules” that will apply to venues wishing to reopen, especially around social distancing, cleaning, screening of staff for illness, and recording the contact details of all patrons to assist with contact tracing. 

Like other states, the rules also stipulate that venues can only serve alcohol with food, and that public bars and gaming rooms will remain closed.

“The public bar won’t be open. It will be the bistro restaurant dining part of the pub. People will be able to go and have a meal, if they choose to have a beer with that then that’s all good,” Andrews said.

Despite the rules surrounding the reopening, the announcement has largely been welcomed in a state with some of the toughest restrictions in the country.

The Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) said it was a terrific step in response to the low number of cases identified after the state’s testing blitz.

“While last week our state was behind the easing of restrictions planned in other states and territories, this morning we have moved to one of the most progressive states in this regard,”  VTIC chief executive, Felicia Mariani, said in response to the announcement yesterday.

“This is wonderful news for our hospitality industry and one that VTIC is thrilled the Premier has reconsidered in light of our testing outcomes.”

“Obviously, all of this movement will be subject to the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and will require all of us to follow the rules and comply with guidelines to ensure this progression is realised.”

Andrews too said that the success of the reopening would depend on how everyone, patrons and operators alike, adhered to the relevant rules and guidelines.

“This will only work if those who are going out to a cafe, or those who are going out for a meal at a restaurant, or going to the bistro in a pub, actually follow those rules,” Andrews said.

“If we see spikes, if we see people not doing the right thing and therefore an increase in the number of cases … then these settings could change.”

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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