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Saturday, February 27, 2021

100-patron limit for ACT pubs from next week

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced further easing of restrictions for the Territory on Friday, including permitting 100 people inside licensed venues, which covers all ACT pubs, from next week.

Mr Barr praised ACT residents on their response to the pandemic, which has resulted in restrictions being eased earlier than the government’s original recovery plan.

From noon on Friday 19 June venues will still have to adhere to the one person per 4sqm rule, however maximum occupancy per enclosed space has been increased to 100, rather than the originally proposed limit of 50.

“What this means in practise is that our local cafes, bars, restaurants and licenced premises will be able to have more patrons whilst maintaining a one person per 4sqm in total occupancy loading,” Mr Barr said.

“The size of the venue is still relevant, but for larger venues where 100 people can be achieved within one person in 4sqm that will start to occur.”

Patrons at ACT pubs will now be permitted drink service without ordering a meal, however Mr Barr said it still had to be “seated service”. 

“There will be a change to allow Canberrans to order a drink without having to order a meal,” he said.  

“Not quite a getting on the beers moments, but nevertheless an important step forward for our hospitality industry.”

Along with these changes, theatres, cinemas and concert venues will also reopen, and community non-contact sport competitions will resume.

ACT Minister for Sport and Recreation Yvette Berry said contact sports would be able to resume training from 19 June, but their competition would not be permitted until 10 July.

“We understand many of these larger sports have been planning for recommencement of sport from mid-July and we have contacted a number of those sports to make sure our announcement today won’t cause confusion for their respecting members,” she said.

“Spectators at all of those sports should not exceed the total gathered size of 100, for the number of spectators that are allowed in indoor venues.”

ACT Leader of the Oppositions Alistair Coe backed the ease in restrictions on Friday but said it should have come sooner.

“While it is disappointing that the ACT Government prolonged the pain for many stressed families and local employers, this is a step in the right direction,” Mr Coe said.

“We know many families and local employers have been doing it very tough, and even with the further easing of restrictions many will continue to struggle.  

Mr Barr reminded ACT residents that while there was no cure available for COVID-19, the pandemic was not over.

“We ask Canberrans to continue this really strong and excellent public health response in the coming weeks, months and years,” he said.

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