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Clubs could welcome back crowds of 500 in NSW

Mon, Jun 1, 11:10am by William Brown

New South Wales clubs could welcome crowds of more than 500 people in certain venues from Monday, according to a report by the ABC.

An internal industry document obtained by the ABC reveals that large clubs with multiple dining areas will be able to accommodate hundreds of patrons if they meet certain conditions.

In a memo sent to member clubs on Wednesday, ClubsNSW chief executive Josh Landis took credit on behalf of the association for the rapid easing of restrictions across the hospitality sector in the state.

In the ClubsNSW circular, Mr Landis boasted that the New South Wales Chief Health Officer and other government officials were “heavily influenced by ClubNSW’s reopening plan.”

NSW Health would not directly respond to this claim but said in a statement it “will continue to engage with industry groups on the safe reopening of businesses in line with health advice.”

Last week, the New South Wales state government announced a limit of 50 people per venue.

But large pubs and clubs with multiple restaurants or cafes can accommodate an additional 50 people per dining area.

The ClubsNSW document reveals that discussions were had with the New South Wales government about capping that limit to 500 people in venues with multiple dining areas and large floor area.

Mr Landis tells members: “Following further engagement by ClubsNSW, the upper limit of 500 patrons in a venue has been removed. Instead, the upper limit will be determined by the number of ‘dining areas’ in the club, in conjunction with the 4 square metre rule.”

The document outlines how additional patrons might be accommodated through the use of the dining area rule.

It suggests clubs may use conference facilities as additional dining areas if they are frequently used for seated dining.

It also says some clubs may be able to use physical barriers within large rooms to split rooms into different dining areas, although ClubsNSW advises against it.

ClusbNSW advises its member clubs against erecting temporary walls to create additional dining areas and says that making use of some temporary food outlets such as coffee carts and pie warmers might be seen as irresponsible and will not increase a club’s admissible number of patrons.

“Managers should also keep the penalties in mind before they seek to artificially increase the venue capacity,” Mr Landis wrote.

According to the document, patrons will not be required to consume food to use club facilities.

Additionally, the kitchens that service the relevant dining areas don’t need to be open at all times and patrons do not need to leave the club once the kitchen closes.

NSW the first state to reopen pokies venues

On Monday, New South Wales will be the first state to allow gambling on the pokies since the COVID-19 shutdown.

The ClubsNSW document says that gaming rooms with poker machines will be fully available to members provided a 1.5-metre space is observed between players.

“This may involve switching off machines, removing chairs and/or physically spacing out machines to separate individuals,” the document says.

In a statement, Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the decision is driven by both health and economic considerations.

“We are working closely with a range of industry groups to save businesses and jobs, but they must comply with the rules and will be closely supervised.”

In May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced gaming venues would “possibly” be allowed to reopen as part of “step three” of his proposed path out of lockdown by July.


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