Canberra’s cafes, restaurants and other hospitality venues will be allowed to seat up to 10 patrons at a time as restrictions are lifted slightly from 12.01am on Saturday 16 May.
It is expected only a trickle of cafes and restaurants will re-open for sit-down diners, as the reduced patronage won’t be financially viable for many.
“These local hospitality businesses will only reopen for seated dining if the 10-person limit works for their business,” Mr Barr said.
“The vast majority of the hospitality industry will remain takeaway only for now.
“The next step in the national strategy is that 10 becomes 20, and in four weeks’ time we could well be in that position if things go well over the next three weeks.”
Business will be allowed to decide to reopen later once the maximum occupancy limits are further increased.
Going out for a drink alone remains off limits, as bars and pubs operating without a food service element will remain shut; however, having a beer or a wine with your meal will be possible.
“They can’t serve alcohol independent of serving food,” Mr Barr clarified.
“It’s a risk factor … the very clear health advice nationally and locally is that there is a very different risk factor associated with seated dining as there is in a bar venue.”
In addition to cafes and restaurants, a number of public parks will reopen from this weekend which includes playgrounds, dog parks, outdoor fitness stations, outdoor barbecues, and skateparks.
“If you’re going to be using a playground, assume that the person who used it before you had the virus. So wash your hands before using a playground and after,” Mr Barr said.
Some national parks and reserves will also reopen, but not those that are bushfire affected, including Namadgi National Park.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve will reopen, but not the visitors centre as it is undergoing renovations.
Northern parts of Namadgi that aren’t bushfire affected will also reopen, with further advice about where people can go to be made available via the ACT Government’s website.
Community centres and halls can reopen for small gatherings of up to 10 people, while ACT libraries will start progressively reopening too.
The Chief Minister said the ACT Government will monitor the impact of changes on a daily basis moving forward.
“We want to see more jobs returning to our economy … in a way that ensures not only can we get more economic activity back but can do so in a way that doesn’t see our COVID caseload increase.”
According to the Chief Minister we are now in the phase of “living with the virus”, a phase we may well be in “for many years”.