The Leader published this article recently which emphasises the Stage 1 lifting of restrictions is not a one size fits all solution.
Cafes and restaurants in St George and Shire reveal their plans as restrictions ease
Cafe and restaurant owners have been doing the maths ahead of the easing of restrictions on gatherings on Friday.
Up to 10 eating-in patrons will be allowed, but the four square metres per person social distancing rule will still need to be observed.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she recognised the new arrangements would not be viable for many cafes.
“If it’s a very small hole in the wall, you won’t be able to have 10 people because you need to keep the four square metre rule,” she said.
Many restaurants have decided it will be impractical to reopen and will wait for later stage easing of restrictions.
A random survey found varied approaches by St George and Sutherland Shire proprietors.
The Allouche family will keep Sealevel restaurant at North Cronulla closed, while continuing to provide takeaway and home delivered meals with a limited menu.
However, they will reopen their adjoining Next Door cafe for eating-in, limiting the number of patrons to 10.
“We are going to give it a crack,” Marc Allouche said. “We will get a bit more revenue in and turn over the tables. It’s not much, but we will take what we can get at the moment.”
Zimzala at Cronulla will open the outside area, probably just for lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday and with social distancing and a restricted menu.
“We have gone from 11 people in the kitchen to three,” said proprietor Ray Nelson.
“I think a lot of our customers who have been with us for a long time will rightly expect us to open.”
Gavin Kable, the owner of Nulla Nula cafe at Cronulla, said the government decision was “a positive step”.
“You have to start somewhere, but stage one is not practical for our situation given the size of the venue.
“We will look at having some tables outside for takeaway customers to use and try to give priority to those who may need to sit down such as mothers with prams and older people.
“We are really looking forward to stage three and getting back to normal.”
At Westfield Miranda, Rubyniks cafe owner Sarah Johnston said they would cater for up to 10 eating-in patrons and continue takeaway for other customers.
Oliver Brown cafe owner Jagrati Lalchandani said she was “very happy” about being able to have eating-in again.
“We have lots of space and will follow the guidelines on social distancing by separating the tables,” she said.
“Our restaurant has been open every day for takeaway during the restrictions.”
Georgie Porgie owner George Mikhail said they would continue to just serve takeaway, but have three bench tables which customers could use.
“Being limited to 10 people won’t justify having a waitperson on,” he said.
Kazu cafe manager Sarah said they were still considering what they would do.
Buzzbar and Subway at Mortdale are among businesses that have decided not to reintroduce eating-in and will continue just with takeaway orders.
“We can’t say to some customers ‘you can come in’ and not let others,” said manager Vijal Patel.
La Promenade Patisserie, opposite the beach at Sans Souci, is “playing safe”.
Chanthy Kim and Sok Theng Ghoy began the business in 2004 and their children David and Jessica now work in it.
“We have been doing takeaway and feel we have things under control,” Ms Kim said.
“It might be too early to make changes. I think we will take a further week and see what the case figures are like.”
“Our older customers are missing being able to sit down and have a chat, but we want to do the right thing by them.”
Miss Saigon restaurant in Hurstville will take up the opportunity to have dine-in patrons again immediately.
“The limit of 10 people might be a bit difficult, but we will do it,” said manager Annie Dang.
“We have been doing takeaway, but customers really want to come and eat inside again,’ she said.
The restaurant normally has 20 tables, so the new restrictions will still mean greatly reduced activity,
“We have lost 70 per cent of our business, but last week people seemed more confident and things picked up a bit,’ Ms Dang said.
“Job Keeper has helped us keep some of our staff.”
Macchina Eatery at Sans Souci is another business that will take up the chance to have patrons eat in again.
Owner Khaled Baluch said the cafe normally has 30 tables but is excited to be able to cater for even a small number of customers again.
“We have a big space and 10 people is very manageable,” he said. “We won’t need to employ extra staff.”
Manager Michaela Krejcikova said customers were “fed up with takeaway”.
“Even having one table would be worth it,” he said.
Dolce Espresso at Oatley is among businesses which are unsure about what they will do.
Owner Arshbir Dolce said it was not clear whether the 10 people covered both inside and outside. “We need to get clarification”.
The other changes
The further easing of restrictions also allows:
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, but social distancing must be observed.
- Up to five people, including any combination of adults and children, can visit another household at a time. This could be more restrictive for larger families than the previous limit of two adults and any number of dependent children.
- Weddings will be allowed 10 guests, with up to 20 mourners for inside funerals and 30 if held outside.
- Up to 10 people can attend a religious gathering or place of worship.
- Playgrounds and outdoor gym facilities can reopen.
- Outdoor pools are allowed with restrictions on numbers.
However, NSW is not implementing all the measures in the first stage of the national cabinet’s framework, announced on Friday.
A ban on regional travel is being maintained and libraries and community centres will remain closed in NSW.
Ms Berejiklian said the changes meant that “for the first time since the lockdown, you can leave the home for recreational purposes”.
“It might be a physical training session, sitting down in the park or some other gathering,” she said.
“But, please make sure, even when you are with close friends who don’t live with you in the same household, you maintain social distancing.”
Ms Berejiklian said federal and state chief health officers had advised outdoor equipment could be used safely with caution.
“But, please assume every time you use an outdoor piece of gym equipment or an outdoor playground, the person who used it before you may have the virus,” she said.
“So, we recommend wiping it down, using your own discretion and councils may take up the opportunity to have extra provisions. But, those of us who are extra cautious might continue to choose not to use any outdoor equipment.”
Ms Berejiklian said reducing the number of coronavirus cases in NSW from 200 a day to a small handful was “a wonderful achievement”.
“We don’t want to see any of this lost,” she said.
“We do need to fire up our economy, we do need to get people back into jobs, we need to see some semblance of normality come back, but we can’t breach any of the restrictions in place.”