Pubs and clubs in Victoria could reopen (with strict operating rules) as early as July if policies developed by a taskforce appointed by the state Government are approved by national cabinet, according to The Age.
The newspaper says the taskforce are close to finalising a set of measures that would see pubs operate with table service rather than self service at the bar, mosh pits banned in live venues, dining room capacity slashed and every second poker machine switched off.
The taskforce includes Crown Resorts, Tabcorp, Woolworths’ pokies arm ALH, the Australian Hotels Association, Community Clubs Victoria and the RSL.
Other measures that could be introduced include testing people’s temperatures at entrances and spit guards separating patrons and staff at bars.
Marlene Kairouz, State Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, reportedly addressed the group last Thursday (30th April), indicating venues may be permitted to open late July at the earliest.
A July reopening date could be a lifeline to pubs, clubs and other venues around Australia, who were among the first industries to be hit hard by restrictions introduced to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of coronavirus.
On Friday (1st May), Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the national cabinet will review all restrictions on May 8. Asked about when restrictions on licensed venues would be eased, the Prime Minister urged the public to download the COVIDSafe app, calling it the first step.
Should the national cabinet decide to ease restrictions on hospitality venues, pubs and clubs are expected to be given around a month to prepare to reopen.
Australian Hotels Association chief executive Paddy O’Sullivan told The Age that his organisation would “be working with the Victorian government for any future reduction in restrictions of people movement, particularly around hospitality venues.”