Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

news, action-policy, covid, covid-19, canberra lockdown, act lockdown, canberra eateries, canberra cafes, post-lockdown canberra

After two long months, from Friday, the streets of Braddon are once again showing signs of life as restaurants, bars and cafes are allowed to take seated customers. However, many of these customers could sit outdoors as restaurants seek to maximize their capacity. At Cafe Gather on Mort Street, preparations are underway to reopen. The cafe’s owner Will Fisher said the difficult decision was made to keep the cafe closed during the entire lockdown, even for takeaway. “We knew it would be quieter than usual, so we weighed it up and decided to let everyone take a break and give our customers a chance to miss us for a while,” he said. Mr Fisher said they had used the time to give the café a fresh candy paint, add some new plants and to create a new menu. But one of its biggest changes is that in the meantime, none of Cafe Gather’s customers will be sitting indoors. Instead, the café will use its first-class outdoor space to accommodate its customers. Indoors will be a work area for staff, Fisher said. Under ACT’s way forward, the premises will be allowed to have more people if they choose to operate only outdoors, with a maximum of 50 people allowed, or one person per. Four square meters, whichever is smaller. For indoor venues, a maximum of only 25 people is allowed. The risk of transmission to COVID-19 is lower in outdoor environments. To support hospitality sites, the ACT government has set up a dedicated task force to help businesses exploit public outdoor spaces near their premises. “As we step out of the lockdown, Canberrans will be eager to support local businesses, and this will be a major driver of our economic recovery for Christmas and throughout 2022,” said Prime Minister Andrew Barr. This may mean that parking spaces outside Canberra restaurants may soon be replaced with tables and chairs. MORE COVID-19 NEWS: Business Secretary Tara Cheyne said the task force would look at innovative ways to open outdoor public spaces for venues and would take advice from companies as part of the process. “It is important that we do this in a way that supports local business owners to recover, while at the same time protecting Canberrans from the risks of COVID-19 by following the public health direction,” Cheyne said. “Venues will have capacity limits after the lockdown ends, so moving to the outdoor environment is the safest and easiest way for businesses like restaurants, cafes and bars to start operating faster, as the restrictions gradually ease.” The hospitality industry has been critical of the density limits of hospitality companies. The Australian Hotels Association ACT general manager Anthony Brierley has previously said that hospitality companies would only be able to open until the end of November or December. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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