After the federal government ordered the closure of non-essential businesses and services such as pubs and clubs to curtail the spread of coronavirus over the weekend, New South Wales may have given its nightlife proprietors a lifeline in uncertain times, Sydney Morning Herald reports.
When the federal government announced the order, restaurants and cafes were told they were permitted to continue offering takeaway and delivery food services. However, for pubs and other licensed venues without an off-premises liquor license, it seemed unlikely many would be able to manage the loss of income from their shutdown.
Now, the New South Wales government has announced it will lift licensing restrictions regarding the sale of alcohol, allowing licensed venues such as pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants to provide takeaway services and offer home delivery for alcohol until venues reopen, which could be up to be six months. Prior to the decision, not all licensed premises were authorised to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption.
“We’ve got to think of the health of the people, but we’ve also got to think of the health of the economy and we are transitioning to a takeaway and delivery economy as we fight coronavirus,” commented Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello about the decision.
Liquor & Gaming NSW have acknowledged the “exceptional” circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has created, and the significant impact it will have on business.
“In these circumstances, Liquor & Gaming NSW will take a common-sense and pragmatic approach to enforcing the liquor and gaming laws. In particular, it is recognised that the risk profile of certain venues has changed and measures put in place to manage these risks are, in the current environment, largely redundant.”
Sydney MP Alex Greenwich will meet with Mr. Dominello’s office along with the Independent Bars Association today to work out the details of what a delivery model might look like for the industry.
While more details are expected to come, if you’re a NSW resident, it’s a great way to support local businesses in a dire time of need. Order a few bevvies from your favourite, fire up the FaceTime and recreate the Sunday beers with mates this weekend.