THIS week, pubs across NSW opened their doors for the first time since late March, allowing patrons to enjoy the simple pleasure of enjoying a beer at the bar with a few mates, while observing social distancing of course!

As of June 1, bars, pubs, clubs, breweries and casinos can re-open in NSW, but capacity must not exceed 50 customers or one customer per 4 square metres (excluding staff) per existing, separate seated food or drink area, whichever is the lesser. Under these guidelines, venues may utilise multiple existing seated areas.

Locally, the Gol Gol Hotel was one of the first to open for business, much to the relief of the publican and owner Peter Prescherer.

“It’s great to finally open the doors to the public again,” Mr Prescherer said.

“We have each area of the hotel set up for social distancing and patrons have to register their name and phone number on entry in accordance with the new regulations, but so far it is working well.”

“Our front bar is still being renovated and we’re aiming to have that area completed by early July. Having said that, we still have plenty of space available for people to come in and enjoy a meal and drink for the first time in few months.”

In Victoria, despite Health Minister Jenny Mikakos declaring last Sunday that the State of Emergency would be extended until midnight of June 21, people are also able to go to the pubs and clubs, cafes and restaurants as well, but more stringent restrictions will apply.

Venues will be allowed up to 20 seated patrons per enclosed space. Limits will be placed on entry to comply with the density requirements allowed within a single space – one customer per four square metres.Venues are also required to request contact details, first name and phone number, of every customer to assist in rapid contact tracing.

From June 22, this number will increase to 50 patrons per enclosed space and a further increase of up to 100 patrons per enclosed space is planned for the second half of July.

PICTURED ABOVE: Mildura resident Peter Mensch enjoys a beer with Gol Gol Hotel publican Peter Prescherer.