From Monday, cafés and restaurants can reopen for dine-in service but they will be limited to 20 patrons at a time and with the 4 square metre per person capacity rule applied.
But while this news is welcome and needed, how practical are the new conditions?
Tim McLernon from The Camfield told Botica’s Bunch they weren’t.
“Twenty people at The Camfield, to put in perspective, it is 0.8% of our capacity,” he said.
At 9000sqm and a 2500 capacity, The Camfield is the biggest pub in Australia.
However, while he lamented the unsustainability of the new rules, and the fact it took 6 weeks just to shut down the venue, Mr McLernon said that it wasn’t all bad news.
“I go to a place up in Burswood a lot and it’s only a small place and they have only 12 or 15 seats and they’re absolutely stoked and looking forward to Monday, so that’s really fantastic for some, but not for me.”
It’s a double blow for The Camfield, which also relies significantly on footy fans.
“Unfortunately, the luck of the draw means, [hospitality is] the most affected. There’s nothing wrong that we’ve done but it sort-of feels like we’ve been hit with the golden bullet.”
Mr McLernon said that he was resigned to the fact he was just going to have to grin and bear it.
“…until we can get restrictions lifted to make it viable for us to not start making money, but start losing less money.”
It was a different story over at Juanita’s bar in Subiaco, which was at the other end of The Camfield’s scale.
But despite Juanita’s having a very small capacity anyway, it’s the social distancing rules that are anticipated to be somewhat problematic.
“When we measured up the whole space, we just kind of fit in to have 20,” owner Luke Foley told Botica’s Bunch. “We’re definitely on that much smaller scale.”
However, Mr Foley said that while they were fortunate to open, he was frustrated over the lack of industry consultation. To the point that if it wasn’t viable for everyone to open, to not do so until it was.
“Like keep it shut then,” he said. “I mean it’s different for me, but on a more broader scale, I’m thinking of these guys like Tim who have huge venues,” he explained.
“I only need two people to run [Juanita’s], it was just weird to find out that that was a condition.”
Whatever happens from Monday, one thing’s for sure – it looks like the blokes with the big pubs are 100% keen to support the smaller ones.
“Look, I can’t wait to grab a beer on Monday,” Mr McLernon said.
“It just won’t be at any of my pubs for a while.”
Hit PLAY below to hear the full chat from The Camfield’s Tim McLernon…