In what has seemed like an eternity being locked up inside our homes with no guests, the restrictions around Covid-19 are starting to ease. In Melbourne, our culture is intertwined with our love for food and dining out. With restaurants and cafes essentially closed to the public, the June 1st changes are a step back to normality for these business owners. However, these changes only have the power to help those, if we the people venture out to support our local cafes and restaurants.
The messaging from Daniel Andrews is shifting from ‘Stay Home’ to ‘Stay Safe’. An important message about maintaining social distancing and using common sense. While the easing of restrictions allows gatherings to increase, the social distancing guidelines remain the same.
Here are the big changes taking place from 11.59pm on Sunday May 31 and some of the changes to some of our favourite plant-based eateries.
Eating and Drinking
The Victorian Government released its ‘Hospitality Industry Guidelines for Coronavirus‘ which covers off the new rules for restaurants and cafes from June 1. They include the new capacity limits of up to 20 patrons per single enclosed space, subject to meeting
the density quotient of one patron per four square metres of patron-accessible area. Staff are not included in the capacity limit.
Separate dining areas, whether indoor or outdoor, can have up to 20 patrons, subject to the density quotient for each area.
Tables can have no more than six diners each and must be no closer than 1.5 metres apart when patrons are seated.
Alcohol can only be served with a meal, which is more than a ‘snack’. This is not only in the best interest of social distancing but also the venues you are heading too. We would also encourage you to get takeaway coffee if you are not eating to ensure that space isn’t taken up from higher paying customers.
We recommend booking with restaurants and cafes in advance to ensure you are able to get a table.
Gatherings, be that indoor or outdoor are increasing to 20 people, including the hosts. This allows people to have small gatherings for birthdays, or other celebrations (Quarantine Party) or even picnics in the park with a group of friends to happen.
You are also now allowed to stay overnight, which opens up hotels, motels and other accommodation. Together with campgrounds and caravan parks, with exception to those with communal facilities. Travel is also allowed, so you can cross the borders to other states, if the state allows you to do so.
A number of cultural spaces are reopening including galleries, museums, drive-in cinemas outdoor amusement parks, libraries, youth centers and more. Together with nail salons, spas and tattoo parlours, however, all of these places still need to follow physical-distancing directions and the capacity limit “per space” will still apply. Including the overriding rule of 4 square metres of space per person, so some venues may cap out at a lower number. Meaning that planning ahead is essential at this time.
For more information, the Department of Health and Human Services has set up a page with a complete breakdown.