The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) welcomes today’s announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews of further easing of restrictions in Victoria from 11:59pm on 21 June. Victoria will not only see the originally planned expansion of patron numbers in cafes and restaurants to increase from 20 maximum to 50, but establishments will also be able to serve alcohol without food via table service only.
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said, “These new developments are certainly welcomed by the industry, and we look forward to further reactivation of our sector as we move to what is now a ‘COVID-Normal’ operating environment.
“In particular, we’re thrilled to see that the shared facilities in our caravan and camping sites across the state can reopen – and finally, we have confirmation that our school camps can operate again.
“This is great news as we know these campsites have struggled with limited, or no ability, to welcome visitors back. This has caused incredible stress with operators having been in hibernation for the past three months; and in the case of our school camps in fire-affected areas, these establishments have had no business since the start of the new year.”
All easing of restrictions have been announced on the basis of operations maintaining stringent requirements relating to cleaning, hygiene and distancing rules. Application of these rules will be imperative as outcomes from further loosening of restrictions continue to be tested and a progressive course of movement is adopted.
“Our industry is committed to embracing these rules as they are introduced, and has a keen focus on protecting the health and safety of our customers, our staff and the communities in which we operate,” Ms Mariani said.
A recent industry survey conducted by VTIC has shown that the health and safety issues of guests were among the highest concerns of operators across the state, and one that greatly influenced their comfort with the decision to reopen. The other major issue has been the viability of operating within the four square metre rule per person.
“Our survey showed that over 60% of respondents noted the financial viability of opening on the 20-person maximum rule, and adhering to the four square metre rule, has made it impossible to operate. While the shift to 50 patrons from 22 June will be helpful, these spacing requirements still make it unviable for smaller establishments to increase their numbers.
“It was pleasing to hear the Premier say the State Government will be reviewing this based on its analysis of any issues resulting from this current easing of restrictions, and we’re hopeful that we’ll see some positive adjustments in the July timeline.
“Our events industry, including the lucrative business events sector, has been crippled since mid-March when restrictions were first put in place. Even the 50, or 100-person maximum rule, will not work for this sector that will require specific guidelines and considerations relating to their unique operating environments.
“VTIC continues to engage with Government in this crucial area and we look forward to further announcements in July that will see some joy for this vital part of our visitor economy,” Ms Mariani concluded.