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Pubs, clubs and cafes get June 1 green light in Victoria

By Andrew Johnston

THE Victorian Government has announced more changes to its COVID-19 restrictions – meaning from June 1 cafes, restaurants and pubs will be able to reopen their doors to serve meals to up to 20 customers at a time per enclosed space.

From 22 June this could increase to 50 patrons and during the second half of July, up to 100.

Victorian Premier Danial Andrews said today “after smashing through our goal of 50,000 tests in the past week, the results of this data has given us the confidence we need to plan to slowly start lifting some more restrictions”.

“The continuing low numbers of community transmission and the high rates of testing give us confidence that cafes, restaurants, pubs and other hospitality businesses can begin planning for a phased re-opening from the beginning of June,” he said.

“The timelines we’re announcing today are reliant on Victorians continuing to get tested when they show even mild symptoms and on those tests continuing to show low numbers of positive cases around the state.

“Before each of these dates, the Chief Health Officer will review the rates of community transmission in Victoria, confirm our ability to test, trace and respond to possible outbreaks and make sure we have an adequate safety net in the health system – before we take the steps outlined.”

Mr Andrews said this sector of industry has told the government it needs time to plan and prepare to protect the safety of their staff and customers.

He said making these announcements now will be giving them that time.

“The hospitality industry is one of the pillars of the Victorian economy and has been among the hardest hit by this pandemic – re-opening the venues we all love is a critical piece of the puzzle in saving jobs and restoring our local communities,” Mr Andrew added.

“We need to be really clear though: this is not a done deal. These timelines will depend on how we’re tracking.”

A number of precautions will be put in place to guide these changes.

All venues will need to abide by existing physical distancing requirements of one person per four square metres. Tables will also need to be spaced at least 1.5 metres apart.

Venues will also be required to take the contact details of every customer to assist in rapid contact tracing.

And there’ll be other safety requirements too, including extra cleaning, staff health screening and temperature checks.