Hope for hospitality as state considers COVID overhaul
PUBS and restaurants in Queensland could soon be serving up to 50 people at a time, with the hospitality industry confident the ambitious target is being considered by the Palaszczuk Government.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Restaurant and Catering Australia handed its COVID Safe Plan to the State Government this week, which included proposals to combat the virus, such as banning buffets, limiting share plates, laminating menus and increasing cleaning schedules.
The Government's road map has set a limit of 20 people to be allowed to dine in pubs, restaurants and clubs from June 12 - but they could allow more patrons if COVID Safe Plans are approved by health authorities.
Restaurant and Catering chief executive Wes Lambert said they expected it was likely that the Government would consider a limit of 50 people for Stage 2 in a huge win for the industry.
"We're actually working very closely with the Palaszczuk Government and the COVID-19 taskforce," he said.
"We do expect that it is likely that they will also consider 50. Fifty was already going to be considered for the regions and we're quite confident that Queensland will certainly consider 50 in the CBDs."
It comes after NSW yesterday announced that it would be allowing up 50 customers to be seated in restaurants and cafes from June 1.
A spokesman from the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's office yesterday said that what NSW did was a matter for them.
"Queensland will continue to be guided by our Chief Health Officer's advice," he said.
Mr Lambert said they had handed their COVID Safe Plan to the Queensland Government on Thursday for restaurants to be considered as one of the industries that will be allowed more patrons under Stage 2.
"It's a comprehensive document that gives businesses a bit of a manual so that they are sure they're COVID safe and practising the most COVID safe guidelines so that consumer confidence will continue to build," he said.
The industry plan covers COVID safe measures for a range of areas in the restaurant and catering industry, including bookings and conditions of entry, staff practices and dining in.
Port Office Hotel owner Nick Gregorski believes that the actual eased restrictions have not taken into account a size or scale for some establishments around the state.
"Being open with 10 people wouldn't be viable for us, even 50 wouldn't be viable either," Mr Gregorski said.
"I don't think they've taken into account for different businesses, it's like going to the shop and being told you can only buy a medium T-shirt."
Pelathon Group managing director Jaz Mooney owns The Normanby, The Grand Central and The Grand hotels in Queensland and The Crest Hotel in Sydney.
"This morning Queensland and NSW were fighting over border closures," he said.
"Now with the clubs and pubs of NSW going straight to 50 … and obviously she (Premier Gladys Berejiklian) looks better because of that.
"Do I believe Queensland should follow suit?
"Yes I do, and as quickly as possible."
Brian and Cathy Fitzgibbons, owners of The Osbourne Hotel in Fortitude Valley and The Glen Hotel at Eight Mile Plains, said their businesses had been gutted by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We feel in Queensland, given the low number of cases and quick adoption by all of the hotel sector of the COVID safe plans, that we should be able to have more people in our venues," director Cathy Fitzgibbons said.
"There is no reason to not safely have 50 at any one time in the venue. For us to not be at least the same as NSW just defies reason."
- additional reporting Ellen-Maree Elliot and Jeni Faukner
Originally published as Hope for hospitality as Qld considers COVID overhaul