As of June 1, bars, cafes and restaurants will be permitted to welcome up to 20 patrons at a time.

Changes in restrictions offer respite to tourism industry

May 21, 2020 BY

THE recent easing of lockdown restrictions will see tourism industry start recovering from the financial hardships of the coronavirus.

On Sunday, the Victorian Government announced that from June 1, cafes, bars and pubs would be allowed to welcome up to 20 patrons at a time for meals per enclosed space, albeit subject to social distancing requirements. This is set to be increased to 50 patrons on June 22, and 100 by mid-July.

Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine executive director Brett Ince is supportive of the easing.

He said it was useful that businesses would have a couple of weeks to make the necessary changes.

“We are particularly pleased that operators and venues have been given some time to prepare to do business very differently.

“Thorough planning will help us all ensure this re-opening is cautious, measured and doesn’t send us backward in terms of infection rates.”

Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism general manager Liz Price said much of the tourism sector would still remain dormant “because people can’t come and stay yet”.

The Department of Health and Human Services advises that Victorians “shouldn’t be taking holidays currently, even within Victoria. You can go for a drive, but you are encouraged to stay local, and only go to places where you can drive there and back within one day. You can still book accommodation if there is an essential need”.

However, Ms Price said that as the situation had become clearer, GORRT had been able to plan ahead.

“We’re sticking to the message ‘If you can stay at home, stay at home’. When people can come and stay, we will embark on our next stage of marketing.

“We’re going to target first the visiting friends and relative market. We’ll work with the local community to invite their friends and relatives to come back here to visit this part of the region. We think that’s the market that will be most responsive.”

Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) chief executive Felicia Mariani said the easing would help reinvigorate the industry.

“While last week our state was behind the easing of restrictions planned in other states and territories, this morning (May 17) we have moved to one of the most progressive states in this regard.

“VTIC has engaged extensively with the government over the past week on these issues and we’re thrilled that the Andrews Government has seen a pathway to respond so positively.

“This is a terrific first step to the reanimation of Victoria’s tourism industry and VTIC looks forward to working with the government to ensure our industry is well prepared with regard to their obligations and requirements.”