The Night Time Industry Association has put forward to Government a set of key principles, which target for a flexible approach to the re-opening of the hospitality sector in NSW.

The NTIA is calling on urge the NSW Government to adopt or adapt the principles outlined in its report to provide more effective guidance for NSW hospitality businesses.

Michael Rodrigues, Chair of the NTIA said “We need a plan that allows the sector effectively to be re-commissioned and is inclusive of all venue types – a hole in the wall cafe, a 20 pax cocktail bar, the 200 pax diner and the large scale venues which are typically the backbone of our going out precincts. Above all, that plan must provide a level of certainty to the industry. Without certainty, the initial start up cost could be a bad bet for many operators.

“Our principles for re-opening have been informed largely by the approach that has been adopted in NZ, and are a road map for returning to some normality, whilst adhering to public health measures. We want to work with government and regulators to get the principles adopted and get businesses functioning viably and safely, as quickly as possible.”

The principles were developed in consultation with NTIA members including Applejack Hospitality, Australian Venue Co., Solotel, the Mary’s Group as well as the Independent Bars Association.

Paul Waterson, CEO of Australian Venue Co, said: “Our New Zealand venues have opened reasonably well using these principles. On a weekday night we are doing similar numbers to a normal weekday night but clearly still missing the usual Friday/Saturday night trade given the current capacity constraints. I am supportive of this as an approach.”

Karl Schlothauer, President of the Independent Bars Association, added: “Having a unified plan that allows our industry as whole to reopen while recognising the complexities of each different type of business to operate, will give us every chance of reopening successfully and reduce the confusion for both the guest and business.”

The NTIA document outlines 10 principles around distancing, capacity, safety and hygenie. In addition it calls for non-dining customers to be allowed, saying: “Patrons may be in the venue for the purposes of drinking only and not necessarily to dine, as long as physical distancing is maintained, with RSA rules applied to breaches of physical distancing.”

Hamish Watts, Co-Founder of Applejack Hospitality, said: “We are happy work within guidelines that will give punters the confidence to head back out and support restaurants and bars so long as it means we trade effectively within them.  Whilst venues are currently being propped up by the likes of JobKeeper etc, we need to work quickly to rebuild an industry that it is self-sufficient by providing parameters that are both practical and appropriate to the scale of the operation.”

Kenny Graham, Co-Founder said that the principles will help venues and operators plan for getting through the crisis, and in particular when JobKeeper ends in September.

“These are great guidelines to adhere to,” Graham said.

“Our biggest concern is that most hospitality businesses are basically trading insolvently right now, surviving only due to the Government subsidy. When September hits, reality will follow, swift and foul.

“The industry needs at least three months of growing revenues starting now, to have any reasonable chance of seeing out 2020. Extension of stimulus, or allowance of increased numbers is going to be essential.”

Rodrigues added: “The last couple of months has been a dark period for venues, and they need a light at the end of the tunnel.

“To protect our industry and the thousands of people still employed in it, and to help support Australia’s broader economic recovery, we need an approach based on these principles adopted now.”

The Reopening Principles are available on the NTIA website.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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