Business owners concerned that the new restaurant and cafe restrictions will make it unviable to operate
Business owners concerned that the new restaurant and cafe restrictions will make it unviable to operate

‘It’s a worry’: Restaurant industry on the brink

A POPULAR northside brewery and restaurant will reopen today, but its owner says all is not well in the hospitality industry.

White Brick Brewing at North Lakes will reopen its restaurant today under State Government restrictions that allow just 10 patrons at a time to dine in.

This will increase to 20 people on June 13 and 100 on July 10.

"It's harder for the larger venues, the 10-people limit is a worry," owner Adam Gibb said.

"A lot of the clubs, bars and restaurants wont be able to make money under these restrictions.

"It's a tough thing when you shut a business down and then the government makes it almost unviable to open up again."

White brick brewing is reopening its restaurant this weekend under the new COVID-19 restrictions. Head Brewer Dale Johnston and Owner Adam Gibb are looking forward to welcoming customers back into their North Lakes brewery. Picture: Renae Droop
White brick brewing is reopening its restaurant this weekend under the new COVID-19 restrictions. Head Brewer Dale Johnston and Owner Adam Gibb are looking forward to welcoming customers back into their North Lakes brewery. Picture: Renae Droop

Under the new rules for bars, restaurants and cafes, one patron is allowed per four square metres, up to 10 patrons (so a 20 sqm cafe can only have five patrons), and no bar service is allowed.

Food courts must remain takeaway only.

Mr Gibb said his family-owned business has been really struggling under the COVID-19 restrictions to date, and was looking forward to welcoming customers back inside.

"I'm glad to be reopening under these new restrictions, if it helps us not fall further behind," he said.

"It's been really tough, we've lost all our retail and 90 per cent of wholesale business.

"The shutdown has also ruined years of marketing and building brand awareness. It all falls away.

"This weekend is an opportunity for people to get out of the house, sit down and share a beer and a chat.

"We have really missed the interaction with the community."

Adam Gibb. Picture: Renae Droop
Adam Gibb. Picture: Renae Droop

When many smaller restaurants and cafes may choose to reopen this weekend, some of the larger venues will remain closed.

Rob Comiskey, director of the Comiskey Group which owns and operates the Eatons Hill and Sandstone Point Hotels, said the limit on numbers would mean his pubs would stay shut for at least another eight weeks.

"I can't see how you can open with 10 or 20 people. The expenses would be more than the turnover, even if you take into account JobKeeper," he said.

"The one rule fits all doesn't work and it can't work."

Moreton Bay Regional Industry and Tourism chief executive officer Shane Newcombe said businesses would have evaluated over the past week whether it was viable for them to reopen under the new restrictions.

"The test will be more around the public's appetite to actually re-engage with dine-in services come this weekend," he said.

"This is something we are extremely keen to monitor to gauge community confidence."

Mr Newcombe said everyone wanted business and the economy fully back up and running, and that we were moving closer to this each day.

"I am comforted by the fact the decision are being made by experts on a time line that will ensure our community is safe and we continue to keep the pandemic under control," he said.

"Both the State and Federal Governments should be applauded for the actions they have taken over the past three months with the management of this crisis."

Originally published as 'It's a worry': Restaurant industry on the brink



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