A peak hospitality industry body has slammed Victoria’s ‘impossibly low’ venue caps in the state government’s roadmap out of its current restrictions.
While Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) welcomed the opportunity for the Victorian hospitality sector to potentially capitalise on the busy Christmas trading period, it has expressed its disappointment at the Victorian government’s announcement of a watered-down re-opening strategy which falls well short of expectations.
R&CA CEO Wes Lambert said that today’s announcement that included strict density requirements and low caps was shocking news to the 14,609 restaurants, cafes and catering businesses across Victoria and their 180,000 employees.
Despite recommendations made by R&CA and other industry stakeholders to create safe indoor dining, the industry feels bamboozled that harsh patron caps and surprise, unspoken density limits mean venues must be 600sqm or more to even come close to meeting the Victorian government’s caps.
With the busy Spring and pre-Christmas trading periods fast approaching, the Victorian government has broken the industry’s heart.
“Lockdowns, restrictions and border closures have left the Victorian restaurant, café and catering sector further behind their counterparts in every other state and territory across the country. Victorians want to go back to doing the things they love,” Mr Lambert said.
“Throughout the many dark days of lockdowns, cumulatively one of the longest in the world, Victoria’s hospitality industry professionals have complied with public health orders and proven time and time again they can be COVIDSafe and are now left scratching their heads.
“These caps are impossibly low, especially for venues that do not have outdoor dining capabilities and for larger functions like weddings. The hospitality industry has undeniably been one of the hardest hit in Victoria and will continue to be strangled by restrictions. Without increased government support until Victoria hits 80 per cent double dosed and restrictions are eased further—these businesses genuinely risk closure.”
Mr Lambert said that R&CA will continue to press the Victorian Government on further removal of restrictions once the state reaches 80 per cent double vaccinated.