An influential group of nearly 40 of Melbourne’s and Victoria’s hospitality and food services industry leaders has written an open letter requesting the State Government to engage with the sector to develop a realistic, hospitality specific road map to enable hurting businesses to reopen safely and begin the business recovery process.
Victoria is now entering its fourth month under some of the most stringent social and economic lockdown measures seen anywhere in the world. And it’s working, with infection numbers having reduced rapidly since the peak in early August. However, the stubborn tail of infection numbers has meant ongoing uncertainty about when some of the measures will be eased. In particular, there is no clear indication about when restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can reopen and start the process of building back to normal trading conditions.
Pure Dairy’s Sales Director, Briony Hamp-Adams, noted that the leading dairy and food services company was fully supportive of the intent of the letter, which recognises the incredibly difficult decisions our Government leaders have had to make but also asks for consideration of some moderate adjustments to get things moving again.
“We’ve seen many of our clients and customers seriously struggling through this difficult period.” said Ms Hamp-Adams. “But this is also a sector that has demonstrated its ability to work actively in developing practical and workable solutions to manage the risk of infection, put in place excellent contact tracing mechanisms and demonstrate its public health obligations.”
Melbourne’s café and restaurant scene is a significant and important part of the city’s culture and ambience – a critical contribution to the title of “World’s Most Liveable City” that we are all so proud of. And there is no doubting that Melburnians deserve some reward for their months of dedication to staying at home, limiting physical movement and adhering to curfews. As Spring progresses and the weather warms up, the opportunity for a meal or a drink out would no doubt give most of the population a big boost, even if some other restrictions are necessarily maintained or more slowly eased.
The letter calls for the State Government to implement changes which will allow for a maximum of 50 patrons, indoors or outdoors, subject to strict social distancing and density requirements, contact recording and appropriate sanitising regimes.
“With the successful reintroduction of food and drink service in regional Victoria, and other states, the evidence is there that a careful, staged reopening of services in Melbourne can be achieved” said Ms Hamp-Adams. “Regional tourism and foodie destinations throughout Victoria have been able to successfully open up to regional patrons over the past few weeks and have shown the way in terms of managing the risks of further infection.” She added “The positive impact on the mood of reginal Victorians has been significant. I think all Melburnian’s would love to experience a bit of that sooner rather than later”
The campaign to develop a specific hospitality recovery roadmap, including a petition to parliament, can be viewed at changevictoria.com.au. The open letter is available here [LINK].