Antsy Queenslanders to ‘get amongst it’
QUEENSLAND pubs and clubs are gearing up to reach capacity this weekend as antsy partygoers are expected to pour into venues following months of lockdown.
Industry leaders are hoping for a busy trade when work knocks off on Friday as the long-awaited return of ordering a beer from the bar is allowed - with some venues already recording an uptick in reservations.
It comes as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday warned that Queensland would never be exactly the same, telling Queenslanders that the state is living in a post-COVID-19 world.
Clubs Queensland chief executive Dan Nipperess said some clubs would likely reach maximum numbers - in line with the public health direction - on Friday.
He said clubs had remained popular during Stage 2 restrictions and that the relaxed rules this weekend meant they could welcome back even more people - with some clubs opening for the first time since March.
"We're expecting a busy weekend because patrons can now go back to the bar to place their orders, they can move around clubs more freely and they are not restricted to 'defined areas'," he said.
"But people can expect at all times that clubs will be safe. They're well prepared to implement the requirements under Stage 3 restrictions."
Brisbane Junior Chamber of Commerce president Nathan Schokker said businesses were also expecting a "decent influx in numbers" on Friday, with a lot of them getting well prepared for the night.
"If I was a betting man, I would probably put money on the fact it will be busier than a typical Friday night," he said.
"There will still be a number of people that will be cautious and that will still probably just stay at home.
"I think there is a lot of people out there that are going to be itching to get to their favourite pub or bar… and get amongst it."
Mr Schokker said one of the biggest challenges for businesses though would be staffing arrangements, acknowledging it would not be easy to arrange in a short period of time.
From tomorrow, businesses such as restaurants and cafes will have no caps on numbers of patrons, as long as they are abiding by "one person per four square metres" rule, with smaller venues allowed one person per two square metres.
Nightclubs and casinos will be allowed to reopen their doors with COVID-Safe plans, and punters will be allowed to play the pokies again.
The Premier said yesterday a post-COVID-19 world meant Queenslanders would have to keep social distancing until there was a vaccine for the virus.
"We never know when there could be a new case," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"As we've seen, it can emerge very quickly like it has in Victoria."
She said the National Cabinet's goal was to suppress the virus, as she confirmed the Sunshine State had recorded no new cases on Wednesday.
Queensland Hotels Association chief executive Bernie Hogan said he believed crowd numbers would be similar to what they had been under Stage 2.
"It's easier to serve people at the bar, it feels more like a pub experience," he said.
"The hotels have proven that they can handle these restrictions and do it responsibly.
"We see no reason why we can't keep moving it forward, with health results of course. I think people are itching to get out across the state."
Hellenika owner Simon Gloftis said there had been an upswing in bookings at the popular restaurant.
"We've got a lot of reservations coming in, and we can't wait to get back to what we really love doing," he said.
RSL and Services Clubs Association chief executive Penny Wilson said she also believed it would be busier at some venues.
"We certainly hope so," she said.
"It's a bit difficult to anticipate."
Big4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort marketing manager Tanya Cran said bookings at the holiday park were up a whopping 324 per cent on the same day last year, and the park had experienced a 40 per cent spike from just a day before.
"The phones have been going mad since yesterday afternoon and haven't really stopped," she said.
"The region really needed this news; the town has been very quiet since borders were closed."
Originally published as Antsy Queenslanders to 'get amongst it'