With the anticipated move for regional Victoria to move to Step Three restrictions this week, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull is seeking reasonable operating procedures for local pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes.
“When we had hospitality open last time, establishments were allowed to have 20 patrons per room, provided they had the floor space. Businesses embraced this, policed it well and it worked.
“However, there is concern that while the move to Step Three has been mooted for this week, the commentary is that ‘hospitality will open for predominately outdoor seated service only’.
“This won’t work for many. There are numerous local pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes that simply do not have outdoor seated dining options, so we need to have the ability for these businesses to cater for a set number of patrons inside, as they did successfully last time.
“I’ve asked the Government to rectify this in their decision making before they announce the changes, which are anticipated for later this week,” said Mr Bull.
Kylie Tabone, from the Grand Terminus Hotel in Bairnsdale, said they do not have the ability to open the bistro outdoor seating only.
“Ideally as a first step we just want to go back to what we had, 20 people in the bar area to allow for social distancing and 20 in the bistro area. It worked well last time,” she said.
Russell Bates, from the Marlo Hotel, agreed, saying pubs like his that had multiple large indoor areas, should be able to utilise them as a means of safely catering for customers and being viable.
“If we were limited to outdoor service only, it would be a massive restriction to us being able to operate and each day would be very weather dependent. We need more security than that,” he said.
Mr Bull said there were a large number of hospitality industry businesses that would be unviable if the restriction was limited to ‘predominantly outdoor seated service only’.
He has called on the Government to rectify this and make it known to the sector as a matter of priority what the guidelines will be.
Monday, September 14, 2020