Browse Directory

Will NSW relax restrictions for larger hospitality venues this week?

During a crisis cabinet meeting held on Wednesday 25 November, frustrated senior colleagues voiced their displeasure with Gladys Berejiklian’s position on COVID-19 restrictions concerning large hospitality venues. 

This backlash has forced Ms Berejiklian to compromise on the decision she had made in relation to the easing of restrictions on larger venues, who were wanting to host one person per two square metres.

Ministers had complained that it was hard to tell if the Premier’s office was running a media strategy or a health strategy, with one minister saying “These are people’s lives not a media strategy.”

Ms Berejiklian’s original position on restrictions differed to those of ministers Dominic Perrottet, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Stuart Ayres. 

The ministers voiced their concerns at last week’s state emergency operations centre meeting, saying they wanted Ms Berejiklian to ease restrictions further and allow larger venues to move to one person per two square metres. 

Last Tuesday night, newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph had been briefed that the government may agree to easing space restriction in small hospitality venues only (up to 200sqm in size) with a 50-person cap. This is a disappointing result for larger venues.

Ministers Perrottet, Barilaro and Ayres believe the result is not enough to help large hospitality venues.

Two key changes secured in the meeting were: removing the cap of 50 people on small hospitality venues, and increasing the number of people in backyard gatherings to 50.

However, the position of allowing one person per two square metres in large hospitality venues was not secured. There was an agreement this issue would be reconsidered this Wednesday. 

Ms Berejiklian and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant remain cautious after ongoing concerns that virus sewage fragments were found in Liverpool.




Irit Jackson, 30th November 2020