The NSW government will allow pubs, clubs, cafés and restaurants to have up to 50 customers from 1 June, upping the number of patrons from the current 10 people per sitting limit.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the move was about safely bringing back thousands of jobs.
“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.”
Under the measures set to commence next month, hospitality venues will be required to adhere to strict guidelines including that each patron must have at least 4 square metres of space; bookings can be no larger than 10 people; no patrons will be allowed to stand, mingle or dance; and shared cutlery and buffets are also banned.
Ms Berejiklian said that while police will not be put in charge of counting the number of patrons entering venues, any venue found in breach will be closed down.
Commenting on the changes, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the government was moving to swiftly and safely get businesses back in business and put some 280,000 people back to work.
“There are about 280,000 people employed in this sector of the economy and allowing venues to safely cater for more customers will provide another boost to business and jobs,” Mr Perrottet said.
“NSW is opening back up for business, and as we ease restrictions, everybody needs to follow the health and safety guidelines, to ensure we make it a success and can continue.”
Also speaking on the occasion, Deputy Premier John Barilaro said this was a needed morale boost.
“This is a game-changer right now, as we continue to deal with the aftermath of the devastating bushfires, continued drought and COVID-19, it’s important for people to find a way to enjoy themselves and take a break from the daily pressures they are facing,” Mr Barilaro said.
“A morale boost and the additional economic stimulus provided by pubs and clubs is what our communities need, and I look forward to enjoying a beer in the bush with locals very soon.”
All venues are, however, being reminded they must ensure social distancing and will need to develop a COVID Safety Plan consistent with NSW Health guidelines.