“As long as they get it right”
DALBY pubs and cafes have had a mixed reaction to the state government’s “ambitious” yet tentative target to reopen venues in June.
While some are keen to get back to normal soon, others are hesitant about jumping the gun.
Urban Paddock owner Melissa Harms said she was “most definitely” ready to welcome sit-down customers after transitioning to ‘Grab n’ Go’ during the shutdown.
Over that period revenue dropped about 50 per cent and the cafe was only saved from closure by the federal government’s JobKeeper payments.
About 10 of her 25 staff qualified for the payment while a number of junior staff had to be stood down.
“We are gearing up now for it (reopening) and investigating what we need to do,” said Ms Harms.
“We have such a large premises inside and outdoors that we can follow the 1.5m distancing rules between tables no issue.
“We’re putting procedures in place so we can reopen as soon as we’re allowed.
“We have to ensure there are no condiments on the tables and will be offering hand sanitiser around the place and sanitising the tables after every use.
“We’ll probably use disposable cutlery for a while and we’ll make sure we have good signage for where people can stand.”
Criterion owner Ben O’Callaghan said he was more reserved about reopening in case a second wave forced another shutdown period.
The Criterion has weathered the forced closures better than some venues because of the drive-through bottle shop and takeaway food.
Mr O’Callaghan said it was vital for the government to do the right planning and ensure well-managed reopening that would not create more health risks.
“As long as they get it right, because we don’t want to open and have to shut down again.
“We’re better off waiting another month and reopening, than opening to early.”
Mr O’Callaghan said 18 of his staff qualified for JobKeeper and he was able to keep on others who had been working less than a year.
“We’ve been a bit lucky because we have the drive thru and food is going okay but we understand other places only have on premises and don’t have takeaway so they would probably want to reopen earlier,’ he said.
He anticipated the government would order a phased reopening of venues, allowing meals but maintaining the ban on public gatherings such as birthdays and putting time limits on bar flies.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has described a June reopening of venues as “ambitious” and will meet with the industry and health chiefs to develop a road map.