BOOGIE IS BACK: Publican ready for relaxed rules
FROM tonight pub patrons will be able to dust off their dancing shoes.
Preparing for the next round of eased restrictions, South Kolan Hotel Motel publican Jo Duffy spoke to the NewsMail about the highs and lows of COVID compliance.
Being able to welcome about 160 more people through the doors and some of those, onto the dance floor, definitely fits into the former category.
From 4pm today (Tuesday), patrons can dance at outdoor venues, whether that be an outdoor music festival or local beer garden.
Indoor premises will be able to increase from one per person per 4 sqm to one per person per 2 sqm.
"It's going to make such a big difference to patronage and the overall ambience of the hotel," Ms Duffy said
"Not only can people dance, I can fit more people in my venue, which is great for me being an outside venue."
Publicans like Ms Duffy have had to rapidly adapt to change this year.
She said 99 per cent of their patrons were happy to follow the rules, and the few that didn't were given a warning before being asked to leave.
While the past few months have been a challenge for local venues, Ms Duffy said when the right information was at hand, the rules weren't difficult to follow and the COVID compliance authorities were forceful but fair in their duties.
She said her biggest frustration stemmed from the sign-in sheets.
She said under the rules, the patron's full name, full home address, phone number and time of entry is required - it was not enough to have just an initial, surname, suburb and phone number.
"Unfortunately, what people don't seem to realise is each one that's wrong, the COVID police have every right to fine us per patron that has signed in wrong," she said.
Ms Duffy said if some of the onus was put back on patrons they may be more inclined to stick to the rules.
"I understand that it's our venue so therefore we need to have some responsibility for it, which is perfectly fine; but, it's very difficult to control 100 per cent of people, 100 per cent of the time," she said.
"That's not just with COVID, that's with everything …"
While there were still a few inside venues where dancing wouldn't be allowed, Ms Duffy said this latest change was a win for the little guys.
On Friday night Mark Lavender is taking the stage from 7.30pm and Todd Keightley is playing on Saturday night from 6pm.
She said with the courtesy bus running, her team was expecting a good turn out come Friday.
More information about current COVID-19 directions click here.
For the latest revised restrictions, click here.