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The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has welcomed today’s long-overdue partial reopening of Victoria, but warned the plan as outlined today of a maximum of 20 patrons inside a venue is not viable for many of the state’s bars, hotels, pubs and taverns.

AHA National CEO Stephen Ferguson said Victoria’s hotel and hospitality industry and the staff it employs had suffered greatly for most of 2020 and Victoria needs to match other Australian states and territories to prevent any further damage.

“All Victorian hotels have COVID Safe plans and systems in place to ensure safe environments for patrons and staff,” Mr Ferguson said.

“This includes digital contact tracing, COVID Marshalls, heightened cleaning and trained staff.”

“75 per cent of Victoria’s pubs will remain closed unless more reasonable limits are allowed – this extreme limit on venue capacity will not result in many people returning to work.”

“A reasonable first step would have been to allow pubs to recommence with one patron-per-four square metres indoors and one patron per two square metres outdoors.”

“These are the provisions in NSW and Queensland, enabling venues to maintain safe social distancing whilst getting employers and employees back on their feet.”

“Victorian hotels have the systems in place to allow a safe and meaningful reopening – today’s announcement creates a façade of reopening when in reality many doors will remain closed, keeping staff at home and out of work and employers unable to pay the bills.”

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