Clarence pubs and clubs get the green light
PUBS and clubs across the Clarence Valley have been given the green light to up to 50 customers from tomorrow.
After a nervous wait on Friday afternoon for the NSW Government's official notice of the new public health order and final clearance from Grafton and Lower Clarence Liquor Accords, by Saturday morning it was confirmed that pubs, clubs and hotels had received the all clear to increase the number of patrons at their licenced venues.
Bowlo Sport and Leisure Yamba has been closed since the introduction of coronavirus health restrictions, and CEO Phil Boughton said it was a relief the last-minute issues were resolved before they could reopen for the first time in 70 days.
"We are very excited to open again, we know this is the new norm but as a group of people we love what we do and we love serving people and we haven't been able to do that," he said.
"There were a few issues surrounding areas that were less than 200 square metres if they were nominated as a dining and drinking area, so they will not be able to accommodate the 50 people."
Mr Boughton said staff at the club had worked through the weekend to make sure they were ready to resume trading on June 1.
"The preparations for the new norm really took place after we got the final confirmation on Saturday of what exactly the new rules were," he said.
"We were trying to get ready for what we thought the new rules might have been but once we got the clarity we needed on Saturday it was full steam ahead.
"We're a big club and have got plenty of space so we certainly can put all the safety aspects in place in order to trade safely. First and foremost the safety for our staff and customers is our number one priority.
"We're a big venue and we will be able to allow the increased number of customers and be compliant with our obligations."
Mr Boughton said the staff at Bowlo Sport and Leisure were looking forward to the club opening again and getting back to work.
"We had a meeting on Friday afternoon and the staff were really excited to get back to work," he said.
"They were getting sick of sitting around at home doing nothing."
The NSW Government's relaxed coronavirus restrictions from June 1 will allow pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants to have up to 50 customers, subject to a one person per four square metre rule, and with strict social distancing guidelines.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the move was about safely bringing back thousands of jobs which had been affected by COVID-19 public health measures.
"This decision has been made with expert health advice and both businesses and patrons will be subject to strict rules and guidelines," Ms Berejiklian said.
"All customers must be seated and no bookings of more than 10 allowed, in addition to many other conditions which must be met."
Australian Hotels Association CEO John Whelan said the move was an "important and positive step forward" for NSW pubs.
"The entire hospitality sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis with hotels shut down across NSW and 94 per cent of our workforce of 75,000 stood down or terminated," he said.
"Today is a significant step forward on the road to recovery for our industry and a welcome kickstart to the NSW economy."