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June 23, 2020
Habits

Venue capacities will increase again from Monday

A revision of the four-square-metre rule will come into effect on Monday, 29 June, with venues able to trade with a density of one person per two square metres.

SPECIAL REPORT: COVID-19 ADELAIDE

As InDaily reported today, the State Government has announced capacity restrictions for hospitality venues will be amended from Monday, 29 June.

The density cap will be revised from one person in every 4sqm to one person in every 2sqm, and there will be no limit placed on the number of people gathering in businesses or private gatherings.

For many small venues throughout the city, this doubling of their capacity will be a practical functional step toward regular trade than when the 4sqm rule was in place.

The prior easing of capacity restrictions barely changed the operating reality for many of Adelaide’s bars and restaurants operating on the small venue licence, as these businesses are often fit out into small-footprint spaces.

The square metreage of the venue then became the most restricting factor.

A group of small venue operators had been asking for this amendment for some time, and recently gathered together with the South Australian Labor Party to publicly apply pressure to Premier Steven Marshall.

On Friday, a Transition Committee meeting did not result in a reduced density restriction, but the premier said it would be a discussion point in future meetings.

Today’s announcement was met warmly by Sali Sasi at Leigh Street Wine Room.

“It’s really good. It means we’re basically going to be doubling numbers,” says Sali, who spoke with us about the trading restrictions last week.

“From an industry perspective, it was really nice for us to reach out to the opposition in this case and actually have our cries for help heard, and actually have them publicly go out and bat for us as well.

“And the fact we got a really good outcome today… it means that we can try and save our businesses and keep employing people.”

Sali says the increased capacity for trade means she will be posting a job advertisement for a chef tomorrow, and Leigh Street Wine Room can now afford to have on enough staff to open up its mezzanine space.

With more customers able to come through the door each day, the bar and restaurant will also no longer be reliant on its sister business, online wine shop Juice Traders, to survive.

With more bodies in venues, Sali also predicts some tangential effects.

“Within every venue, there’s going to be a heightened sense of vibe – there’s going to be that buzz,” she says.

“Even from a guest and staff perspective, there’s going to be more positivity, so I feel like naturally these venues are going to have a feel-good vibe within them.”

While Sali is happy to be able to trade under these new rules, she relays concern to CityMag for the position hospitality operators are being put in as the state’s borders gradually reopen.

“We are increasing tourism, hospitality is now at the front line because we’re getting those tourists without any quarantine periods coming to our venues, because where else are they going to eat and drink? They’re coming here,” she says.

“So it’s [important] now more than ever… that we are ensuring that those COVID-Safe Plans and guidelines are adhered to, so we don’t see us going back into a similar situation to Melbourne.”

Today’s announcement also had implications for large events. Read more at InDaily.

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