Hunter pub owners are cautiously optimistic about the roadmap out of lockdown, questioning the heavy restrictions that will be in place despite vaccinations being required.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced yesterday that hospitality venues can open to vaccinated customers the Monday after NSW reaches 70 per cent double dose, expected to be October 18.
But venues will be subject to one person per four square metres inside and one person per two square metres outside. Masks will remain mandatory inside, drinking must be done seated.
Burwood Inn co-owner Tony Dart said while it was exciting to finally have a date, he still had some queries.
"I'm glad they're didn't tell us on the Monday we can open on the Friday," he said.
"With Christmas just around the corner, to be able to from the first of October open the phones back up and take bookings will be great. Melbourne Cup will also be 13 or 14 days later, so it will allow us to maybe do some marketing for that.
"Here's my thing though, you're not allowed in the pub unless you're vaccinated, but they're still making it one person per four square metres. I'm a little bit dumbfounded we can't at least go back to two square metres.
"It will mean we can have less than 100 people in our venue at any time. Last time we had one person per four metres, financially we were probably going backwards."
IN THE NEWS:
- 'Serious concerns' for Jade Maybury, 25, missing from Morisset
- Hunter stays in lockdown, NSW records 1405 COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths
- Gladys Berejiklian releases 'road map' rules for vaccinated people after COVID lockdown
- Injured Knights prop David Klemmer will push through the pain barrier to face the Parramatta Eels
- 'Systemic and human errors': mother calls for inquest into son's jailhouse murder
- Hunter business owners plead for COVID-19 lockdown certainty
Mr Dart also hopes for a streamlined process for people to show a tick if they're vaccinated.
"They don't want people to get too close together but the only way I think I'll be able to operate that is one entry one exit into the venue, because you can't take the chance someone has got in there if they're not vaccinated," he said.
The Stag & Hunter Hotel and Customs House owner Mick Starkey has similar apprehensions about the roadmap.
"They're opening us up under the heavy restrictions we were closed under even with 70 per cent vaccinations," he said. "I find it hard to get excited about that because we were losing money hand over fist.
"It's great that there's a start and there's a conversation, but it's very difficult to run a business without having any idea of what the future holds."
He said the additional responsibility of policing customers' vaccination status would be another challenge.
"That's going to be a nightmare," he said. "We have to make sure our young staff have been vaccinated who haven't been able to get them because of the timeline. What are the legalities around that? There's been no discussion around that.
"There's so many variables, that's why I struggle to get excited."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: