‘Tough’: Pub owner’s emotional message

Michael Watson, co-operator of Watson’s pub, in Moore Park, joined the NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on Monday to mark the state’s reopening.“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally open and we’re ecstatic to host you guys here today,” he said.“It’s been a tough road over the last few months. However, we got here (and) we’re very appreciative of the support from the government.“The support packages have been absolutely amazing.”The first 100 customers at Watson’s will be given a free schooner to celebrate reopening.Restrictions have eased for vaccinated residents only in other settings, including retail, gyms, hospitality and beauty.Masks are mandatory and proof of vaccination is required in all places, aside from critical retail.Freedom day comes after NSW achieved an exciting vaccine milestone.More than 90 per cent of people have had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than 70 per cent have had both doses.Mr Perrottet paid tribute to predecessor Gladys Berejiklian as the person who made the state’s reopening on Monday possible.He acknowledged it was disappointing she was not able to be the state’s leader while pubs, restaurants and shops reopened to fully vaccinated customers.“Oh, it’s disappointing. Gladys, as you know, has led us through this pandemic and (today) is a great day for the state,” Mr Perrottet said.“I’m sure we’re all disappointed that she’s not here to celebrate this great moment with the people of NSW. She was an outstanding premier, the most outstanding premier we’ve had. “She was out every single day, (doing) daily press conferences, and it hasn’t just been the last 100 days … we’re talking 18 months here of challenge for our state. “It’s been a very, very difficult time on government, on her as the leader, but I know she’s here in spirit, and you never know, Gladys may go out and have a beer herself tonight and celebrate.”Greater Sydney had been in lockdown since June 26, while other parts of the state were also forced to endure stay-at-home orders for most of that period.From Monday hospitality venues can open to vaccinated customers subject to a rule of one person per 4sq m inside and one person per 2sq m outside – with standing while drinking allowed outside.A maximum of 20 people are allowed per booking.“I see it as a day of freedom,” Mr Perrottet said. “It is a freedom day. Businesses are opening up, but that means it needs to be done in a measured and safe way.”NSW recorded 496 cases and eight deaths on Monday.

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