Eloise Raftery, Brad Green, Jasmin Macaulay and John Maca enjoying a beverage at the Phoenix Hotel
Eloise Raftery, Brad Green, Jasmin Macaulay and John Maca enjoying a beverage at the Phoenix Hotel

Cheers at last – pubs, restaurants move to new normal

CORONAVIRUS may have turned us all into hermits, or nearly so, but the big news is things are getting back to normal in the hospitality industry.

Hotels across Gympie region are moving into the new normal, with social distancing, limits on numbers in a room and forms to enable tracking and testing if anyone turns out to have COVID-19.

“I think everyone’s just keen to go out to dinner again,” Phoenix Hotel manager Wayne Healy said yesterday.

“We can have 20 in each section, 10 in one other one and overall 110 people in the venue at any one time.

Lisa Marshall from the Phoenix Hotel pours a beer for returning customers.
Lisa Marshall from the Phoenix Hotel pours a beer for returning customers.

“There’s full table service for meals, or you can just have a drink.

“It’s positive,” he said.

“Customers are enjoying table service and just being in the pub.

“It’s good for everyone, getting staff back to work.

“We’re preparing the gaming area for when it can open and the TAB and Keno are operating now,” he said.

It was similarly positive at The Australian Hotel, where up to 60 people can dine and drink, 20 in each of three areas.

“We’ve got new chefs and new management,” said manager John Balkin.

The Mount Pleasant is also rapidly returning to normal, with up to 20 people in the bar and another 20 in the eating section.

The Empire Hotel is open from 4pm Monday and Tuesday and 11.30am Wednesday to Saturday.

The Royal Hotel remains closed for dining and drinking but accommodation services have never been interrupted, a spokesman said yesterday.

Across the region, it is a variable story, with some venues still closed and others, like the Silky Oak Tea Gardens at Goomboorian open for up to 20 people, with lunch or dinner or just drinks.

Imbil’s Railway Hotel is serving meals in the dining room and at Kilkivan, one local said the hotel was “open just like the good old days,’ but with some shorter hours and limits on numbers.

Joe’s Hotel at Goomeri is open all day for meals, with lunches seven days and opening times of 10am most days and 11am on Sunday.

Charlies Hotel is still closed as renovations near completion.

“We’re expecting to open by July 13, or possibly earlier,” said manager Paul Pilkington.

Queenslander Hotel owner Allan Roberts said the pub was now trading almost normally.

“We can have up to 90 people with our COVID Safe Industry Action Plan.

“We’ve been open the last two weekends, with table service.

“We’re fortunate we have outdoor areas which can cater for a reasonable number of people.

“The bar is open too but we’re still waiting for some kegs to be delivered,” he said.

Mr Roberts said he was looking forward to Stage Three of the easing.

“That starts on July 10 and we hope to be back to normal by then, including the renovations,” he said.

Gympie Times


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