COVID-19: Local pubs prepare as restrictions tighten again
"I'M just hoping we can get through this without taking too many steps backwards."
Coffs Coast pub owner Harry Barry had been feeling optimistic until he received the news tougher restrictions would be imposed on pubs and hotels across the state.
Mr Barry said he had re-employed a majority of the 195 staff he had on deck before the pandemic struck, and with school holidays in swing, things had dramatically picked up.
The seven pubs he operates had been approaching full capacity.
Under the new restrictions which come into force on Friday, standing in pubs will no longer be allowed and bookings will be reduced from 20 to 10 people.
There will also be a cap of 300 patrons in a venue.
"It's hard to tell someone my age to take a seat," Mr Barry said.
"People aren't breaking the rules with malicious intent, it's all just habit. It's the new normal and people are needing to adapt to a different way of living now.
"The faster we can adapt, the better."
Mr Barry said staff across his pubs including the Hoey Moey and Moonee Beach Tavern had already been implementing all necessary Covid-Safe measures
He praised locals for being respectful of the restrictions.
"It's basically about reinforcing what we have already been doing. Everything is being sanitised as often as possible, everyone is signing in at the venue, everybody must practice social distancing, and staff are aware of what's expected.
"99 per cent of people in Coffs are happy to comply and do the right thing."
The tough new compliance measures officially announced today by Premier Gladys Berejiklian come amid a spike in Covid-19 cases which have been linked to a Casula pub.
As of today, July 14, 28 cases of Covid-19 have been linked to the Crossroads Hotel.
The announcement also comes just days after the Golden Sheaf Hotel in Double Bay was fined $5,500 for breaching public health orders.
The new restrictions will see dedicated Hygiene Marshalls patrol venues to ensure compliance.