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World News – AU – Melbourne’s pubs, restaurants and retailers in 30-hour race to reopen

Peter Appleby's 125-year-old Melbourne pub has been around long enough to survive fires and floods, but he says reopening after a seven-month COVID shutdown may be his biggest achievement

Daniel Andrews was still speaking at his press conference when phones started ringing at the Grand Hotel in Warrandyte, in the far northeast of Melbourne

« I took four phone calls [for reservations] while I was watching him, » pub manager Peter Appleby said

During this eagerly awaited press conference, the Prime Minister announced that pubs, restaurants and cafes could reopen from Wednesday

This means that M Appleby can finally get back to serving beers after its pub, a local gathering place, has been closed for months

« To stand behind the bar and have a beer and chat with our loyal regulars who have supported us for the past seven months, I can’t wait – it will just be a special day, » he said

« A delay of around 30 hours for the stock to be delivered and the place to be cleaned up and ready to go is a little disappointing – it’s so early, » he said

And there will be limits to the number of clients it can accommodate at a time All Melbourne sites will be subject to a 20-person indoor cap, with no more than 10 in a single indoor space , and no more than one person per 4 square meters

« Twenty [people inside] are not viable for us, but we will open because there is only one week left before the interior capacity increases to 40 people, » he said.

Outside, sites will be limited to one person per 2 square meters, with a maximum of 50 clients

M Appleby is hoping the state government will adopt a simple density rule, rather than a hard cap on numbers, to allow larger venues to accommodate more people with social distancing

« I have had a number of calls from our staff over the last hour, trying impatiently to figure out whether we are going to be able to make it Wednesday morning or not, » he said

He said his business, Axil Coffee Roasters, was unlikely to reopen due to the tight deadline

« We have been practically closed since mid-March, so we are delighted to reopen, but the limit of 20 [people] is misleading as they are two spaces of 10 people maximum per space, » -he declares

« As you know, your local cafe like us, we have space, so we only have 10 seats »

He said this limit would not be financially viable in rainy weather when outside seating is not possible

His business operates on click-through sales, but that’s only a small fraction of his regular business

« The financial stress has been enormous and it will be a long time before business picks up, » she says

« I have three staff at the moment and it hits us all pretty hard, » she said

« We are all moms, we all have kids, we all juggled, tried to keep the click and collect with our people on the phone, as well as most of our kids at home »

« Now that we have a routine with the kids back to school and regular shopping hours, we can just start living again »

Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra said there was a « sense of optimism » in the business community following the announcement

He said that the fact that the so-called ‘ring of steel’ separating Melbourne and the Victoria region would be dismantled in two weeks was essential to help inject much needed liquidity into regional economies

« The news that we will become a Victoria again from November 8 will bring comfort to so many Victorians and that date cannot come soon enough, » he said

M Guerra said the state government needs to trust businesses to operate safely against COVID, just as the public trusts the government health system to respond to outbreaks

Major retailers have said their industry is ready to operate COVID safe, with careful physical distancing and rigorous cleaning protocols

The Large Format Retailers Association, which represents stores like Harvey Norman, Bunnings and Spotlight, said many stores were already set up on a scale that would make social distancing simple, while other modes of shopping adopted during the lockdown were likely to remain an option

The Victorian Tourism Industry Council, which had urged the government to set a clear date for the removal of the Melbourne-Victoria area border for weeks, said Monday’s announcement was a « watershed moment »

CEO Felicia Mariani said news that the ‘steel ring’ and 25-kilometer radius rule would end on November 9 was what her industry had waited months to hear.

« The state’s tourism industry breathes a sigh of relief today, now that we have a clear date for when residents of greater Melbourne will be free to travel to the Victoria area » , she said

« Bringing Melbourne back to life is an essential ingredient in the recipe to put our state on the path to a normal COVID future

« Today the government in Victoria took the first steps that are so desperately needed to enable us to pave the way for recovery »

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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

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World News – AU – Melbourne pubs, restaurants and retailers in 30-hour race to reopen

SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com/news/world-news-au-melbournes-pubs-restaurants-and-retailers-in-30-hour-race-to-reopen/?remotepost=469991

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