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Current Situation

As at 25 May 2020

Following the National Cabinet meeting on 8 May 2020, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced the National Cabinet’s three-stage ‘Roadmap’ to ease COVID-19 restrictions. The national framework is available here . It is now up to the State and Territory Governments to implement the Roadmap depending on local conditions.
 
As each State will be implementing the plan differently, it is important for businesses to be familiar with the approach in each state that they operate in.
 
 

New South Wales
Cellar Doors can immediately resume wine tastings in line with the clarification to the Public Health Order.  A cellar door can open to the public to sell food and drinks:

  • If there is wine being sold (incl. a tasting), then food must also be provided.
  • You cannot have 10 people standing at the bar having a tasting and snacking on cheese.
  • You can have a maxium of 10 people at a table, doing a tasting and snacking on cheese.
  • However, any food (including cheese platters) must be COVID-safe. NSW Health is advising against communal food/sharing food etc. So it would be prudent to provide each individual with their own cheese platter and cutlery.
  • It’s a business decision for the cellar door if they want to use their 10 patron quota on a cheese platter as opposed to a more sophisticated dining experience.
  • If there is a restaurant within the cellar door, then only 10 persons can be served (in total).
  • All venues need to comply with the current individual and group spacing regulations of 1 person per 4m2 in total and minimum of 1.5m spacing between tables/groups.

Further easing of restrictions is anticipated to coincide with regional travel resuming 1 June. We will keep you informed with updates.

 

Queensland
The Queensland Government has developed a plan to ease COVID-19 business restrictions to ensure businesses can reopen in a way that increases business activity but does not compromise the health of customers, staff and the community.

These Stage 1 eased restrictions came into effect at 11.59pm on 15 May 2020.

Read the Chief Health Officer's non-essential business, activity and undertaking closure directive for more details on current restrictions.

View the Queensland Government's roadmap to easing restrictions

From 15 May 2020, restrictions are eased across a number of business areas including 10 people permitted at any one time for dining in: restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered and licensed clubs, RSL clubs and hotels.

To reopen and operate a business safely, businesses must have a workplace health and safety (WHS) plan in place to demonstrate the actions they are taking to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers. This WHS plan, or a summary of it, should be displayed to show that businesses are operating safely.

Businesses do not need to submit their WHS plan to any authority for approval.  Some higher risk industries require businesses to complete a COVID SAFE checklist as part of their WHS plan. We recommend you follow advice from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland when developing your WHS plan. You should also consider Queensland Health directives when putting together your WHS plan, and consult with your staff.

 

South Australia 
Late last week the SA Government also updated the Phased Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions - Updated Directive and Advice for all Licensed Venues in South Australia.

On Friday 22 May 2020, the South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall,  announced any establishment with indoor or outdoor dining capability could serve food to 10 persons seated indoors and 10 seated outdoors. Wineries and cellar doors could serve alcohol with that food, irrespective of the licence type held by the business.  SA wine businesses will need to make their own decision as to whether they will open or not under the current parameters.

The Directive advises that alcohol service is for seated patrons and only 'with their meal'. Australian Grape & Wine encourages wineries and cellar doors to take a common-sense approach and use best judgement as to what constitutes a ‘meal’, as well as to exercise caution about alcohol service without a substantial amount of food available. 

 Platters are permitted;

  • A flight of wines served to seateddiners (seated patrons ordering substantial food) would be acceptable;
  • Tastings at a bar are not permitted; this parameter seeks to prevent the communal use of glasses and milling around at a bar or tasting area.

 

If you do not have the capability for seated food service, you will need to remain closed – therefore cellar doors, without food service (which is a meal) must remain closed until 5 June. 

Venues that are permitted to open and determine to do so will need to ensure proper social distancing; the ultimate capacity will be determined by the one person per 4 square metre rule to a maximum of 10 indoor and observe proper hygiene practices and cleaning of premises practices.

 

Tasmania
Stage 1 commenced on 18 May for onsite dining facilities (ie operating as per a cafe or restaurant for 10 people at a time, with table service only, for food service (accompanied by wine).  No tastings are permitted and with social distancing, businesses will also need to have a COVID-19 Work Safety Plan in place and available to inspectors.

Stage 2 commences 15 June for 20 people at a time, all other conditions as outlined above.

Stage 3 commences 13 July for 50+ people at a time - exact number and conditions to be confirmed.

If you do not have onsite dining facilities (ie operating as per a bar):

Until Monday 13 July (Stages 1-2) you can continue to offer takeaway bottle sales only - no onsite wine consumption, and no tastings permitted. With a COVID-19 Work Safety Plan in place, available to inspectors.

From Monday 13 July (Stage 3) possible reopening for onsite consumption of wine - further details to be confirmed.

 

Victoria
The Premier, Daniel Andrews, announced upcoming changes to the current COVID-19 restrictions on the weekend. The full statement is available here.

If you have onsite dining facilities (ie operating as per a cafe or restaurant), you will be able to resume:

  • From 1 June with up to 20 patrons per enclosed space
  • From 22 June with up to 50 patrons per enclosed space
  • With up to 100 patrons per enclosed space during the second half of July

All venues will need to abide by existing physical distancing requirements of one person per four square metres. Table spacing (allowing 1.5 metres) will also be enforced. 

Additionally, venues will be required to take the contact details of every customer to assist in rapid contact tracing. 

A number of other safety precautions will also be required, including extra cleaning, staff health screening and temperature checks. The cleaning regime must include use of a disinfectant with anti-viral properties that complies with the published requirements of the Department of Health and Human Services.  (Download Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce COVID-19 transmission (Word).)  See also here for requirements for restaurants.  

The announcement of proposed changes from 1 June did not include updated advice in relation to cellar doors. Therefore existing restrictions continue to apply, being you can continue to offer takeaway bottle sales only - no onsite wine consumption and no tastings permitted.  

To support hospitality businesses to prepare for reopening on 1 June, the Victorian Government will continue consulting with industry peak bodies and workers’ representatives to develop detailed guidelines on creating a coronavirus (COVID-19) safe plan for reopening. These guidelines will be released on 25 May. Further information is available here.

 

Western Australia
The basic principle regarding licensed premises and therefore, cellar doors, under Stage Two easing of restrictions is that no liquor will be served without a meal, regardless of license type. Therefore, cellar doors cannot provide tastings to patrons unless these are served with a meal. While no timeline has been established, discussions are being held with the WA Government about how cellar doors can operate to comply with future COVID Safety Guidelines.

Further information regarding how Stage Two affects your business can be accessed here for licensed premises and here for food businesses. You should review this information carefully to ensure your business operations comply with these guidelines.

A COVID safety plan must be completed prior to opening. 

 

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