Pub, restaurant limits set to ease
CROWD sizes at pubs and restaurants could be dramatically relaxed in Queensland as soon as July 10.
The State Government is considering replacing the 20-person cap with a one person per 4sq m rule.
And from today, 100 people will be allowed to attend a funeral under new rules announced yesterday.
The potential move to relax venue crowd sizes to one person per 4sq m was also touted by Ms Palaszczuk yesterday.
The move would bring Queensland in line with NSW and dramatically increase the number of patrons who can be served at one time, providing a much-needed economic boost.
The idea was mooted as Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles yesterday also announced that the attendee limit on funerals - one of the most heartbreaking aspects of lockdown - would today be lifted to 100 mourners.
"To be able to now allow up to 100 people … provided records are kept … we can do that safely while allowing people to grieve their loved ones," he said.
Mr Miles said implementing COVID-19 restrictions for funerals had been one of the hardest to do.
"We've received hundreds of heartbreaking stories from families wanting to have more people to grieve their loved ones," he said.
"It's an event that people don't get to choose the timing of so they can't put it off as they can other events."
Under the relaxed restrictions, funerals will no longer need to be approved by health authorities.
But organisers will need to keep a list of those who attend and hold on to it for eight weeks.
Mourners were, however, urged to stay home if experiencing any cold or flu symptoms.
Reacting to the potential for Queensland to copy NSW's "one person per 4 sqm" rule, hospitality consultant and former Clubs Queensland chief executive Doug Flockart said it was a good first step, but more needed to be done.
"I think the exemplar to look at is New Zealand, where (Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is removing restrictions completely," he said.
"When you look at Queensland now, we've virtually had no COVID cases for a period of time."
Mr Flockart said the changes were still "significantly restrictive", particularly for smaller venues.
Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive Wes Lambert said other states and territories needed to move in line with NSW to ease restrictions.
"Especially the states which have had less cases over past weeks should also consider to going to no caps in stage three," he said.
Regatta Hotel venue manager Scott Vickers said the proposed changes would be a boost to the popular Toowong watering hole.
Mr Vickers said the hotel was already turning away reservations due to high demand.
"We can have 80 at any given time," he said. "We're booked out for three weeks because we can't hold them."
Mr Vickers said the one person per 4sq m rule applied across public spaces at the Regatta Hotel would equate to a maximum capacity of 492 people.
This was still well below the venue's normal capacity of about 1500 patrons.
"We just don't have the capacity to take the bookings, unfortunately," he said
"With (the one person per 4sq m rule), we could trade with walk-ins, we could open up more of the venue, we could bring more staff back in.
"We can't wait."
Mr Vickers said he had been frustrated by the "radio silence" over easing restrictions in the two weeks since restrictions were last eased.
However, he believed Queensland had done better than neighbouring states to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
"I think the hardest bit for us as operators in Queensland is seeing our neighbouring states move faster in the relaxation of restrictions," he said.
Originally published as Pub, restaurant limits set to ease