When, how cafes and restaurants will open

 

RESTAURANTS and cafes are expected to open within weeks, but will likely have to reject walk-ins and only accept customers who have made bookings under a plan to get the economy kicking back into high gear by July 1.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is pushing to release the nation from its $4 billion-a-week hibernation handbrake, will today unveil the National Cabinet's road map out of coronavirus restrictions.

Restaurants and cafes are understood to be a key target for refiring the national economy however its likely they will have to reject walk-ins and only accept customers who have booked and provided contact details.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil the nation’s road map out of coronavirus restrictions today after National Cabinet ticks off on the plan. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil the nation’s road map out of coronavirus restrictions today after National Cabinet ticks off on the plan. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Friday's plan will set the outlines for a staged drawdown from draconian restrictions, but state and territory governments will plot their own paths towards creating a COVID safe economy by July.

It's likely they will all move at different speeds over the next two months, leaving a patchwork of rules and regulations across the country similar to how schools are currently operating.

Queensland, which yesterday eased rules on home visits for Mother's Day, is expected to move more quickly than New South Wales and Victoria, which are still dealing with major outbreaks.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the "extraordinary work of Australians" and the large uptake of the COVID-Safe app, which had recorded more than 5.2 million downloads yesterday, had allowed the government and health officials to ease restrictions.

Health minister Greg Hunt says the “extraordinary work of Australians” during the coronavirus pandemic will allow the National Cabinet to ease restrictions on Friday. (AAP Image/James Ross)
Health minister Greg Hunt says the “extraordinary work of Australians” during the coronavirus pandemic will allow the National Cabinet to ease restrictions on Friday. (AAP Image/James Ross)

"You have helped put us in this position, where Australians will now be at the forefront of beginning to regain their lives as the world looks on, and that's an extraordinary step," he said.

"So while we may take steps cautiously, gradually, to reduce and decrease the isolation, we will have to maintain our distancing and hygiene.

"It's extremely important that we keep those basic measures - the one-and-a-half metres, the hand hygiene, the cough etiquette - these are not polite things to do; these are lifesaving, necessary measures."

Mr Morrison, who last week promised the nation an "early mark" on easing restrictions, said there was no possibility of life "getting fully back to normal" until a coronavirus vaccine was developed but his goal was to "get back to it as close as we possibly can".

But he warned it would take a couple of months for all jurisdictions to move into a COVID safe economy.

"I'm hopeful there'll be more restrictions eased as of (Friday) and then the states will be able to announce when that will happen," he told Newscorp in an exclusive interview on Wednesday night.

"But there's been a lot of good work to try and make sure that the businesses that people would go into would be safe for the workers, obviously, but also for the patrons who would come and the many other places where there's been restrictions up until now."

The National Cabinet and the Australian Health Principle Protection Committee have already released guidelines for businesses and community sports to operate safely.

Co-owner of cafe NAIM in Paddington, Vince Estacio, 29, said he feels "cautiously optimistic" towards the prospect of reopening on July 1.

"It's a relief because it is one step closer to normalcy," he said.

"It's also really scary in the sense that we have less control about what's about to happen, we're just waiting.

NAIM cafe chef and owner Vince Estacio is both relieved and wary as restrictions look set to ease. Picture: Liam Kidston.
NAIM cafe chef and owner Vince Estacio is both relieved and wary as restrictions look set to ease. Picture: Liam Kidston.

"The certainty is gone; hospitality is normally such a routine business, but reopening, whether it's in July or next week, how do we prepare?

"I think people are ready to experience dining-in again … we just want to do it safely."

Originally published as When, how cafes and restaurants will open



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