COVID-19 Update: Victoria Releases Timeline for Reopening

Restaurants, cafes and pubs will be allowed to open for up to 20 customers from June 1st
May 19, 2020

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced the state’s timeline for reopening the hospitality industry yesterday. This is welcome news to Victorian restaurant owners who have been waiting longer than their counterparts in other states where restaurants, pubs and cafes are already beginning to reopen for dine-in guests.

The plan for Victoria is in 3 stages. From June 1st, up to 20 customers are allowed to dine-in at venues - double the number seen in other states and territories. This increases to 50 customers on June 22nd, and finally increases to up to 100 customers mid-July. Only hospitality venues that offer dining are permitted to open such as restaurants, cafes and the bistro area of pubs. Other hospitality businesses such as bars, live music venues and areas of pubs where food is not served are not permitted to reopen and no date has been given as yet for these types of places.

As with other Australian states, reopening does come with a set of restrictions. Each customer must have at least four square metres of space and tables must be at least 1.5 metres apart. Customers must agree to providing their first and last names as well as their mobile number, to be permitted to enter a hospitality venue - this is in order to facilitate contact tracing. And Premier Andrews has confirmed that a ‘long and extensive’ set of rules will be released soon covering matter such as cleaning, temperature checks and employee health screening.

The announcement to allow 20 customers to dine-in has surprised many people in the industry. In most other Australian states, only 10 dine-in customers are permitted in the first stage, and until this announcement Victoria had so far been the most cautious state in it’s approach to reopening. Indeed, other businesses such as gyms and indoor fitness venues must still remain closed and workers in all sectors are being encouraged to work from home for as long as possible. However, Premier Andrews has said that the 20 person limit is based on data and has been confirmed as a safe limit by the Chief Health Officer in the state.

The timelines provided are subject to change if cases start to spike following the move to reopening. But if all goes according to plan, Premier Andrews has confirmed that the message in mid-July will change from ‘stay at home’ to ‘stay safe’ to coincide with the 100 person limit being introduced in restaurants.