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Lockdown ends, but restrictions are still crippling Melbourne’s eateries

Melbourne’s two week lockdown will ease at 11.59pm tonight.

Hospitality venues will be permitted to open, however some of the larger ones may choose to stay closed with owners saying it won’t be viable for them to open with just a 50 person indoor limit.

Acting Premier James Merlino said that “restaurants and cafes can reopen for seated service with up to 100 people per venue, and a maximum of 50 inside”.

The issue with this is now that the colder weather has hit, many patrons will not want to dine al fresco.

President of Box Hill RSL, John Haward said the venue will not open because the RSL would lose money rather than make money, under a 50 person indoor cap.  The venue has the capacity to comfortably hold 200 patrons.

“What this government has said is we’ve opened it all up and it’s all beautiful,” said Mr Haward.

“But we won’t open until next week and let’s see what even happens then. The money we make at the RSL goes to veteran welfare. If it cost us money to open, then we won’t open.

“These rules are fine for little restaurants and cafes but not for us … It’s ludicrous.”

Mr Haward said that many other RSL’s with restaurants and pubs will choose to not open.

Victorian president of the Australian Hotels Association, David Canny said the rules announced on Wednesday were “just not viable” saying there were many pubs he knew of that would not open on Friday.

“This is just a slow death for venues and, as a result, the jobs of their staff,” he said.


Irit Jackson, 10th June 2021