Pubs and clubs with restaurant facilities will be allowed to open for seated dining on Friday, May 15, according to NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet. However, the treasurer's statement contradicts the state’s executive director of health protection, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, who said in the premier’s morning press briefing on Tuesday, May 12 that pubs with restaurants would not be allowed to open on May 15.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported the Berejiklian government’s backflip on keeping pubs and clubs shuttered during NSW’s 'stage one' easing of restrictions. The change in tack is reportedly in response to calls from Clubs NSW to allow clubs and RSLs to open for seated dining. The NSW Australian Hotels Association echoed the call for restaurants in pubs to open.
The rationale for keeping pubs closed while other venues are allowed to open was outlined by Dr McAnulty on Tuesday, May 12, who stated that patrons in pub settings were more likely to linger for long periods, increasing the chances of community transmission.
Any venue that chooses to reopen on May 15 will be subject to strict rules on the maximum number of customers at any given time. This is calculated on the venue’s square footage: each patron must be allotted at least four square metres of space; for example, a venue with a footprint of 20 square metres can host up to five patrons. Regardless of size, the maximum occupancy of all venues will be capped at ten patrons at a time.