COVID-19

Pubs call for full trade as JobKeeper dries up

The Australian Hotels Association Victoria chief Paddy O’Sullivan is urging the state government to end capacity restrictions on pubs and hotels, saying every extra dollar would be crucial as owners confronted the end of JobKeeper the rent relief from Sunday.“It’s going to be very tough for venues to meet their rising business costs if they have to operate under restricted trading rules,” Mr O’Sullivan said.Patron limits at the state’s pubs are set at one person per two square metres, which operates as 50 per cent cap.But with Victoria this week recording no new active cases for the first time in three months, Mr O’Sullivan said pubs and hotels should able to operate at full capacity.“As football crowds at the MCG increase to 75,000, offices return to 100 per cent capacity and people can have 100 visitors at their home, pubs and hotels should be afforded increased patronage too,” he said.“This will have a significant impact on the survival of hospitality venues through 2021, saving jobs, livelihoods and some of the state’s most iconic hotels.”The state’s pubs and hotels had embraced the COVID safe principles, including early adoption of digital contact tracing, abiding by density limits and practising good hygiene, Mr O’Sullivan said.Publican Mark O’Reilly runs a number of Melbourne venues including The Glenferrie Hotel in Hawthorn, Bridie O’Reilly in South Yarra and Platform 28 at the Docklands.Mr O’Reilly said JobKeeper and rent deferrals had played a critical role in supporting the industry through the pandemic but it was now time for venues to stand on their own two feet.To do that, however, they needed to be able to run at full capacity, Mr O’Reilly said.“We’ve got no community transmission and we are able to operate in a safe manner,” he said.“It’s been a difficult 12 months but we are open and heading in the right direction so let’s continue that.”Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Paul Guerra said South Australia and Western Australia were already operating at a 75 per cent occupancy cap.“Victoria needs to get to 75 per cent capacity now and accelerate to 100 per cent over the coming weeks as the vaccine rollout progresses,” he said.“The timing could not be more crucial.”Meanwhile, the state has now gone 37 days without a locally acquired case. More than 9500 Victorians received their test results on [email protected]

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