Victoria’s hospitality venues are concerned their excitement about being able to re-open their doors after the Covid-19 lockdown could be short-lived and cut down by a “black hole” next year.
The state’s president of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA), Davis Canny, made the revelation while chatting to Melbourne’s radio station 3AW on Monday.
Patron limits at pubs, cafes and restaurants will be scrapped, but venues must observe the one-person-per-two-square-metre rule.
Customers will no longer have to be seated for service.
Caps at weddings and funerals and religious events have been removed, with attendance instead subject to one person per two square metres.
Mr Canny told 3AW hospitality workers and venue owners are “delighted” with the recent easements, but are concerned about what the future could hold.
“One person per two square metres just means it’s a fairer system,” he said.
“We’re…worried about the black hole that’s coming in April next year when these things stop, landlords want their rent, banks want their money, JobKeeper dries up,” Mr Canny said.
“Maximise trade now. It’s important that our venues get up and operational, get going, to build that cash flow to avoid that hole that’s coming next year.”
Victoria Covid-19: Restrictions eased
Victoria's mandatory Covid-19 face mask rules have been further eased as the state lifts caps on social gatherings and investigates a quarantine breach which sent a plane-load of travellers into isolation.
Masks must still be carried at all times and worn on public transport, in rideshare vehicles, and at indoor shopping centres and crowded places, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday.
But from midnight on Sunday, people should use their judgment as to when masks are needed in instances where adequate social distancing can't be achieved.
"Masks have been a great insurance policy and remain as such," Mr Andrews said.
Melbourne households will now be able to receive 30 visitors a day - up from 15 - from an unlimited number of other homes.
Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted in public places.
Sunday's announcements followed the quarantining of 176 passengers and crew from a flight into Melbourne.
Victoria on Sunday reported a 37th day without a case of locally-transmitted coronavirus, but Mr Andrews served a stern warning.
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