While the announcement that NSW pubs, clubs and restaurants will be able serve up to 50 people for seated dining from June 1 has been heralded as a positive step towards economic recovery, a number of larger venues around the Great Lakes are still unsure if it will be economically viable.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian made the announcement today, May 22, saying it was a "big and critical" step for NSW, but that strict rules would be in place at venues.
NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, said it would allow "the majority of restaurants, the majority of bars across our State to open."
However, representatives from a number of local venues are not so sure that will be the case.
Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club general manager, Terry Green, said while an official decision was yet to be made, he didn't believe it would be worthwhile for the club.
"At this stage I don't think we'll be opening for 50 people," he said.
"If there's no gaming and no bar, it's not a viable option."
Mr Green believed a club as large as Tuncurry Beach could quite comfortably house 150 people and still comply with social distancing rules, but until it was allowed to accommodate that many people, he wasn't sure he could reopen the doors.
Club Forster general manager, Peter Clarke, said the news was encouraging, but given the financial blow the club had already suffered over the past two months, it would have to be assessed whether it was viable to serve just 50 people.
"We've got to be careful with how we scale the operation," he said.
"It's all about ensuring there's a positive cash flow."
However, Mr Clarke said the announcement would allow management to start working towards a scaled reopening for both Club Forster and Sporties Tuncurry.
"We'll effectively activate our five-stage reopening and recovery plan," he said.
"At the moment we're in stage one."
Lakeside Tavern licensee, Jeremy Cooper, was also unsure whether it would be worth reopening his pub for 50 people.
"We might be able to do something with it," he said.
"It gives me the option, but it's still not ideal."
Business NSW Mid North Coast regional manager, Kellon Beard, welcomed the announcement, saying it would allow most restaurants to start making money again, but he agreed it wasn't ideal for pubs and clubs.
"It's still going to be hard for the bigger venues," Mr Beard said.
"One hundred (people) would start to make some of the larger venues viable."
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