Restaurants, cafes and shops have been given the green light to reopen as part of the first step of a three-step plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions announced today by the Federal Government.
It will be up to states and territories to decide when the changes will come into effect, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was the government’s goal to move through all three steps by July.
“Today, National Cabinet agreed a three-step plan and a national framework to achieve a COVID-safe economy and society,” Mr Morrison said.
Step one will also see libraries, community centres and playgrounds reopening, with social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines still in place.
Under step two, groups of up to 20 people will be allowed in in gyms, beauty salons, cinemas and galleries, and step three will see people return to workplaces, gatherings of up to 100 people allowed and pubs reopening.
Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) CEO Wes Lambert has welcomed the announcement that will see restaurants, cafes and caterers reopening for dine-in.
Mr Lambert said that R&CA has provided state and federal governments with a comprehensive set of best practice guidelines, which would assist businesses in managing the re-opening process.
“We have been working closely with state and federal leaders to seek to chart a path that will allow thousands of small restaurants and cafes to re-open their doors and start serving customers for dine-in once again”, he said.
“Our best practice guidelines have been formulated with input from leading epidemiologists and provide a practical way for venues to reopen safely. The guidelines have a strong focus on contact tracing, social distancing and accreditation to give comfort to governments, health officials and customers as our economy restarts.
“During the COVID-19 crisis, over 441,100 jobs in the wider Accommodation & Food Services Industry have disappeared. It is so important that these businesses be allowed to re-open again, in a safe way, to get Australians back to work and our economy running once again.
“Our industry is ready and willing to reopen, ready and willing to follow best practice rules and most importantly, ready and willing to start serving customers again.”