Damian Brabender, executive chef and owner of Otis Dining Hall, declared that Friday is “Christmas” for the hospitality industry.
“Today is Christmas Eve and tomorrow will be the grand reopening for chefs and all those involved in hospitality,” Brabender said on Thursday. Said.
He said that while the restaurant doors were locked and bolted in Canberra, the hospitality staff were still standing behind them.
“While a lot of people are at home watching the Squid Game and whatever else is on right now, many hospitality staff work five days a week, even half a day,” Brabender said.
“You have quality chefs who make burgers and they do everything they can.”
From Friday, licensed venues can host 25 people indoors, 50 people outside, or one person per four square meters. This does not include staff.
Mr Brabender said the eased restrictions were a “huge leap forward” for fine dining restaurant Otis and the industry more broadly.
“[The eased restrictions] It makes a huge difference for businesses.”
“With the four square meter rule, we go from 25 customers to almost 40 at any one time. And for us, that means a huge leap towards normalcy.”
The restaurant will serve a total of 100 people on Friday and Saturday.
Prior to the lockdown, Mr. Brabender said Otis would typically host around 350 customers per week.
This weekend guests will enjoy fine dining in one of four separate seating areas across two long tables.
“Each table has a reservation for two or four people with a fairly large distance between them,” Brabender said.
“Everyone is still connected, everyone is still experiencing high-level eating together, but still doing it in a COVID-safe manner.”
From Friday, businesses will not need to close if a positive COVID-19 case visits the building.
However, close contacts of positive cases will still have to quarantine for 14 days.
Australia’s top hospitality industry body says prevention from COVID for its members is more than just following public health orders.
Anthony BrierleyFrom the ACT branch of the Australian Hotels Association, a business that pre-orders stock and is subsequently shut down or unable to hire staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic cannot survive.
“This means that a business will not have employees that it can open.”
Some restaurants, like the RUC in Turner, say they’re taking the extra step by vaccinating staff and asking customers to consider taking two doses before they arrive.
Brabender said that while almost all of his employees are fully vaccinated and feel “positive and optimistic”, he knows that the virus can still wreak havoc on the industry.
“What happens if someone enters the restaurant with COVID?” said.
“Many other businesses already feel more than pinch. Now they feel the punches and kicks.”