Adjournment – COVID-19

Mr D O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (6030)

My adjournment matter is for the Premier and the action I seek is for the restrictions for hospitality in regional areas to return to density limits as they were after the end of previous lockdowns.

The limits imposed by the government last week of 10 patrons indoors and 20 outdoors for all pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes are unworkable for many and certainly unprofitable.

Indeed many of the venues in my electorate have chosen to close rather than bother opening at such limited capacity.

These rules make no epidemiological sense based on previous advice given by the chief health officer, where it was deemed safe to have one person per 4 square metres. I have venues with liquor licences of 400 people inside who can now only have 10. That is ridiculous.

At a time when vaccination rates are rising rapidly, and where in Gippsland we have no cases and no exposure sites, the rules need to be loosened. The hospitality sector has proven time and again over the past 18 months or more that it can reopen safely. There have been few confirmed outbreaks out of pubs and restaurants throughout the pandemic and yet they are bearing the brunt of the restrictions.

Premier, these businesses are on their knees. Please give them hope by increasing the patron caps and bringing back density limits as the main restrictions.

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