Massive social-distancing changes coming to NSW pubs, restaurants and cafes

| 22.05,20. 06:05 PM |

Massive social-distancing changes coming to NSW pubs, restaurants and cafes


Premier Gladys Berejiklian says pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to serve up to 50 people at a time from June 1, as NSW coronavirus cases continue to decline.

The Premier described expanding the social-distancing limits as a "big step" in the state's economic recovery from COVID-19.

Under the new measures, hospitality venues will be required to adhere to strict guidelines to operate:

Since last Friday, pubs, restaurants and cafes have been able to serve a maximum of 10 patrons at a time in NSW.

But the new, more relaxed restrictions, mean Australia's worst-affected coronavirus state will soon have the nations most relaxed social-distancing laws, bar the Northern Territory.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said NSW was leading the national fight against the virus.

"It's time to get out, time to enjoy yourself, but also it's time to be very, very cautious, because the virus is still amongst us," he said.

Mr Hazzard said people going to restaurants should be "washing your hands like you've never done before".

The Premier will not direct police to count the number of patrons at each location.

Her Government is still working with the hospitality industry to "fine-tune" the new regulations.

She said any venue found in breach would be closed down.

One idea, suggested by Mr Hazzard, was for all patrons at a venue to provide their name and phone number on entry, to make contact tracing infections easier.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said there were 280,000 people who applied JobKeeper nationally who worked in the hospitality sector.

He said cafes, restaurants and pubs would be central to the state's economic recovery from the virus, and opening them would ensure that when the JobKeeper program ends, people would have paid work.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the increased cap would be a boon for regional businesses, which were struggling amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The changes to restaurant rules will coincide with the same deadline that regional travel will be eased in NSW.

"We've opened up the regions and now it's our happy hour, time to wine and dine," said Mr Barilaro.

Mr Hazzard said Australia was leading the world in the fight against the virus.

"And NSW is leading Australia yet again," he said.


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