Bars to reopen in South Australia on June 8

11 May, 2020

Bars in South Australia will reopen on June 8 after the number of active coronavirus cases in the state plummeted.

There were no new cases reported on Monday and the total number of infections remains relatively low at 439.

State leaders responded by permitting cafes and restaurants to resume outdoor dining today. However, they cannot serve alcohol and groups are limited to 10 people.

On June 8, bars can reopen and host up to 20 people at a time, provided they adhere to social distancing restrictions.

Industry leaders say that will not be commercially viable, and they are lobbying the state government to allow bars to welcome up to 50 customers at a time. 

Premier Steven Marshall confirmed that the state is considering increasing the number of patrons each bar can host. “We’re sitting down with the industry to work out how we might go even more than that when they open because we want to get them back to being viable,” he said. 

“The industry tells us that the last thing that they need is to reopen for business only to have to shut down a few weeks later.

“We’ve seen this happen in other places around the world where they’ve gone too early only to have to clamp down. That would be disastrous for small business in South Australia.”

Australian Hotels Association state chief executive Ian Horne said that it might be worthwhile for bars to reopen if around 50 customers at a time are allowed.

“If you are going to be serious about starting, to get the maximum number of people, viability has got to come at somewhere around 40 or 50-plus,” said Horne in a radio interview. “For country pubs if we could get them to 40 people in their dining room that would be enough to get them back to being viable, whereas big inner city pubs will need more and sometimes they've got a lot more space so we'll just work through all of those issues in a logical way.”

Bars in Northern Territory will reopen on Friday, May 18. It has been one of the most successful regions in Australia at flattening the curve of infections. There are no deaths in the territory, and no new cases have been recorded for several weeks.

David Robinson, owner of several hospitality venues in Darwin, said capacity will be reduced by between 50% and 60% after spreading out the tables to comply with social distancing requirements.

“We are so excited to be serving customers again,” he said. “We miss the interaction. We miss our guests. It’s going to be a long, hard slog, but I'm cautiously optimistic we’ll pull through.”

However, he warned that anywhere between 30% and 50% of Northern Territory on-trade venues would go out of business.

From Saturday, May 16, Queensland will allow people to dine at restaurants, cafes and some pubs in groups no greater than 10, but bars cannot reopen yet.

“Our tourism industry, hospitality, restaurant, accommodation, all multi-billion-dollar industries and there are thousands of people working in those industries and people and businesses want certainty so this gradual return to some form of normality in our post-Covid world would look a bit different but we will back each other and get through this together,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Western Australia will allow up to 20 people to dine inside restaurants and cafes from May 18, while up to ten people can also dine at venues in NSW on Friday. 

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