COVID-19 restrictions on pubs and clubs in regional Victoria need to be relaxed immediately as low numbers of the virus continue.
Member for Mildura Ali Cupper said pubs and clubs in her electorate, and especially those in smaller towns, were suffering under current rules that only allowed 20 patrons to be seated and that food must be served.
“For some of the smaller towns in my electorate, the local pub or club is the hub of the community,’’ she said.
“While they have been able to reopen from June 1, the condition the venues must serve food is too restrictive.
“The ability to head to your local public bar for a drink or two after work is part of the fabric of many of these small communities
“Given there are so few active COVID-19 cases in regional Victoria, it only seems reasonable that more patrons can attend for a couple of drinks without the need to have a meal.”
The current allowance for 20 patrons is due to increase to 50 on June 22, however the meal service aspect will remain in place.
The lack of consistency between Victoria and NSW has also meant clubs on the Victorian side of the border have been unable to operate pokies, which has led to a scenario where offering meal services to such a small clientele has led to them operating at a loss.
“Most, if not all, of the smaller towns in the electorate, have not had a recorded case of the coronavirus, and Mildura has not had an active case in weeks and weeks,” Ms Cupper said.
“It’s now time for the government to start loosening the restrictions in the regions.”