Premier Lifts Restrictions Cafes and Restaurants to Re-open

Premier Gladys Berejiklian during a visit to Port Stephens. Photo by Marian Sampson.


AS the changes in the COVID-19 lockdown are eased there are plenty of positive things to note and even celebrate.

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One is that as of this Friday our Cafés and Restaurants will be able to offer limited service alongside their new take-away and deliveries.

Other changes include the changes to numbers allowed for weddings, funerals and outdoor gatherings.

Locals that have been missing the gym will soon be able to partake in outdoor boot camp sessions and train in groups of up to 10 individuals.

The economy will be allowed to awaken somewhat as we enter this new stage, which is great for local business.

Sadly for many the local won’t be opening for a few cold ones with our mates just yet.

However these freedoms will come at a cost and a cost that is a very real one.

The easing of restrictions does not mean we have defeated the virus – in very real terms it means that we have enough beds in hospitals to treat those who become infected.

Sadly we know that particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk, some will go to hospital and some will inevitably die.

We need look no further than Sydney’s Newmarch House to see how aggressive the virus is.

Even those elderly that recover from the virus may have been weakened to a state where potentially, their other health conditions take their lives.

The young and health are not immune either – for no explicable reason, some in this cohort also die.

In New York we are seeing reports of cases of children suffering and dying from toxic shock after being infected with COVID-19; the majority of children only suffer mild symptoms.

The Premier has warned that if there is an increase in cases we may need to go back to earlier restrictions, however she did not give a number of case increases which would trigger going back to tougher restrictions.

The virus is still spreading and we will never see the old normal ever again, history is being written today by COVID-19.

Hand hygiene and social distancing will become the new normal as scientists around the world pursue a vaccine.

The new normal will also see more flexible workplaces, more home offices and hopefully a reduction in stress in the environment from our changed behaviours.

International travel is off the cards with the exception of a potential trans-Tasman bubble which may in time include the Pacific Islands.

This is good news for local businesses in and around Port Stephens, it means our tourism offering may well be what people chose instead of that trip to Bali.

It also provides our tourism operators the opportunity to rebuild and for those businesses that have pivoted to consider keeping their new services as a part of their product and service mix in the long term.

Tomaree Business Chamber President Leah Anderson told News Of The Area, “It’s great news that restaurants and cafes can start operating again even with lower numbers.

“Our local tourism businesses need the support of the local community at the moment, as we gear up to welcome tourism back into the region as the state reopens.

“There’s no denying that these have been tough times for business and the community and we are looking forward to seeing business across Port Stephens strong once again,” she said.

Anderson also welcomed the concept of a 5-star hotel at Horizons Golf Resort, saying that the region needs to be seen as one which has high end offerings.

The proposed hotel will bring jobs, and that’s good news for two major sectors – jobs in construction and jobs in tourism and hospitality in the future.



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