MONDAY May 18 can’t come soon enough for local pubs, cafes and restaurants, with the State Government announcement that restrictions on dine-in food outlets are finally relaxing.
Times have been tough since noon on March 23, when Premier Mark McGowan initiated new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, with all pubs and clubs closing and restaurants and cafes restricted to take-away only.
However from Monday, exactly eight weeks after restrictions were introduced, local residents will finally be able to walk into a restaurant and have a much needed meal and a drink but it won’t be a free for all, and don’t expect to walk into a pub and simply order a pint.
Alcohol can only be sold with a meal, and social distancing measures are still in place, with venues limited to just 20 patrons at a time, and booking at all venues will be essential.
Kappy’s Italian Trattoria on Swan Street in Guildford have been fortunate through the restrictions.
The family business has been able to retain their staff and while takeaway has been a fixture of their business since its inception, COVID-19 placed an increased emphasis on this service.
Bianca Valenti-Nichols believes the 20-customer restriction strikes a perfect balance for responsible social distancing and fine dining after eight weeks of restrictions.
“It was tough, it was for the greater good but there were few sleepless nights initially,” she said.
“I really thought it would be like this through to about October or November.
“But once we knew you could to takeaway, we ramped that up and just continued on and we had a lot of old customers still coming and doing takeaway.
“We’ll do two settings, an early setting and a late setting in blocks of 20, and because there are different settings we’ll have appropriate social distancing.
“I think it will be similar to the lead-up to it, in a sense, so we’re going back the other way.
“This has shown we can do takeaway really well, it’s been great advertising for takeaway.
“We’d like to get back to full service as quickly as possible but we just have to follow the direction of the State Government.”
Seventh Avenue Bar and Grill manager Kirk Lassen said the easing of restriction was a step in the right direction.
“We’re doing different settings and it’s going to be bookings only, no walk-ins,” he said.
“We’ll do 12 and 1pm, then 5-6pm, 7-7.30pm and a session starting at 7.30pm.
“A lot of people see us as a pub so we’ve been treading water, we managed to retain our full-time staff with takeaways through UberEats and home delivery.”
While he predicts a short-term boom, he also believes the future is not as rosy as some would say.
“Definitely a short-term boom of people wanting to get out and live their life, but the reality might kick in a few months later when they realise a lot of business might not survive, I honestly think we’re in for a rough few years.
“There will be some good that comes out of it, but I think there are a lot of businesses hoping to come through that won’t make it.”