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After months of missing the local, people in NSW will be able to treat themselves to a pub feed this week – however there is a caveat.
On Friday, NSW will move ahead with stage one of removing restrictions which were implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While cafes and restaurants were given the green light to partially open up when NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the state would be moving ahead with easing the lockdown, it wasn’t clear if pubs would be allowed to operate.
While an offical announcement is set to be made on Thursday, NSW Treasurer Dom Perrottet has clarified that restaurants and bistro areas at pubs and clubs will be able to open along with cafes and restaurants, provided they follow the new rules.
Social distancing must be adhered to at the pub’s dining area, meaning only 10 patrons are allowed in a pub at once, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Gaming facilities and bars will remain closed, so the taps at most venues will likely stay dry. However in addition to takeaway orders, you will be able to order alcohol with table service.
"This is an important first step, and we want it to be a success, so that as venues transition back from closure they do so safely both for their staff and their customers," Mr Perrottet told SMH.
The hospitality industry was one of the first sectors impacted by the coronavirus, with staff being let go, or not knowing when they would be back at work.
Earlier on Wednesday Ms Berejiklian sought to temper expectations that pubs would open on Friday.
"Obviously, sitting down and having a meal and exercising social distancing is different to people having a drink or otherwise at a pub," Ms Berejiklian said.
While the federal government has provided framework for lifting restrictions, it is up to individual states and territories to implement change when they see fit.
In addition to cafes, restaurants and pubs reopening on Friday, people are able to have five people over at their home and groups of ten will be able to meet outside.
Pubs and clubs were reportedly “blindsided” by the federal government’s roadmap to recovery laid out last week. Head of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) said the framework is inconsistent and could force some hotels and pubs to shut permanently.
“They basically will not be able to re-open their businesses until stage three of the recovery process,” CEO Stephen Ferguson said.
Mr Ferguson also added venues have large floor-plans, which could safely fit 120 people but would only be allowed to have 10 people at once.
“Why can only 10 people be allowed in a dining area of a huge venue that could safely socially distance 120?”
NSW recorded six new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday from 8100 tests, including three health authorities fear were infected in the community.
Two new cases were contacts of those connected to the Newmarch House aged care home COVID-19 cluster, where 16 residents have died and 71 people have caught the virus.
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