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Publicans ‘delighted’ over easing of COVID-19 rules, but ‘black hole’ concerns loom

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Article image for Publicans ‘delighted’ over easing of COVID-19 rules, but ‘black hole’ concerns loom

Pubs owners are rejoicing after the COVID-19 restrictions on hospitality venues were eased significantly overnight.

From 11.59pm, density restrictions at hospitality venues were eased to one person per two square metres, both indoors and outdoors, with no maximum capacity number on patrons.

Standing service is now permitted.

Victorian president of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA), David Canny, says the industry is “delighted”.

“One person per two square metres just means it’s a fairer system,” he said.

Pubs have been urged to capitalise on the capacity changes while government financial assistance schemes, such as JobKeeper and rent relief, are still available.

“We’re … worried about the black hole that’s coming in April next year when these things stop, landlords want their rent, banks want their money, JobKeeper dries up,” Mr Canny said.

“Maximise trade now. It’s important that our venues get up and operational, get going, to build that cash flow to avoid that hole that’s coming next year.”

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