Victoria’s recent spate of coronavirus cases has forced the state’s government to backtrack on the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, devastating venues with bookings.
The decision by the Andrews government came on Saturday to prolong restrictions, limiting restaurants to just 20 seated diners until at least July 12.
Although the extension of restrictions is understandable given Melbourne has 23 active cases of coronavirus as of June 21, The Age reported the extension of the restrictions would have a heavy impact on restaurants.
Brooke Pollock, owner of Moorabbin restaurant Arcobar, and her partner, Franz Madlener told the publication that they had prepared for re-opening to 50 diners as of Monday (the original next stage of easing for Victoria, provided the venue had sufficient floorspace).
“We put $8500 worth of food into our coolroom to gear up for the week ahead,” Mr Madlener said.
“Our bookings are full every day of the week for lunch. We’ve trained staff. Everything we did financially was to limp us through to Monday, based on us being able to trade with some sort of opportunity for profit.”
Other restaurants have been forced to reschedule diners and reassess plans after preparing for the next stage of reopening only to be blindsided by the decision.
But Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said it was crucial to limit social movements because case numbers were starting to ratchet up.
“The last thing we want is to have more people to be gathering in large numbers in cafes and restaurants at a time when we are seeing increasing numbers in Victoria.”