Easing of restrictions to boost pubs

Graeme Pearce tucks into a parma at the Commercial Hotel, Broadford, for the first time in months.

THE general manager of Wallan’s Hogan’s Hotel has hailed the continued easing of Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions as a step in the right direction for pubs and patrons.

Darren Freestone said a further lifting of public health measures, announced by Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday and set to come into effect on Monday, would give the hotel a boost.

Among the revised restrictions is an increased capacity of 50 patrons for pubs and clubs, up from the current 20.

Patrons will no longer be required to purchase a meal to order a drink, but will still be restricted to table service rather than ordering at the bar.

Mr Freestone said the changes would benefit both the hotel and families in the area.

“We’ll be able to include people in the bistro, and the use of the play room makes it easier for families,” he said.

“It’s good to have the possibility of hosting functions and getting families back together. I don’t think families have had much of a chance to get together so hopefully they are able to do that now.”

Mr Freestone said the fact people no longer had to order a meal to be served alcohol would help alleviate confusion.

“I think it makes it easier for customers to understand,” he said.

“I don’t think there was clarity for some people about why they needed to order a meal and some didn’t realise they needed to, so this makes it simple for them.”

Mr Freestone said the venue would continue to abide by a density restriction of one person per four square metres and was taking hygiene seriously.

“We make sure we sanitise and clean everything to comply and help ease people’s minds,” he said.

“Hopefully it will help make patrons comfortable in the fact restrictions are lifting.”

Also from Monday, June 22, standalone TABs will also be able to reopen in line with rules on retail businesses while TABs in pubs will need to observe density and patron limits that apply to those venues.

Cinemas, concert venues, theatres and auditoriums can open, also with up to 50 people per space.

Libraries, community centres and halls will also be able to open to 50 people. Religious ceremonies can increase to 50.

People can view a full list of Victoria’s revised restrictions online at https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-victoria.