Current Issue #488

Pubs, clubs, churches and cinemas close as South Australia shuts its borders to limit COVID-19 spread

Grace Emily Hotel
Sia Duff
The Grace Emily Hotel closed its doors on Friday, ahead of a nationwide order to close all licensed pubs from midday, 23 March

Another weekend’s worth of escalating COVID-19 restrictions will see bars, casinos and cinemas around the country close as social distancing measures are stepped up.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the call on Sunday night after another two days of rolling announcements that saw Premier Steven Marshall announce a historic plan to restrict access to South Australia’s borders and New South Wales and Victorian governments flagged their own unilateral restrictions to non-essential government services.

From midday today, licensed pubs and clubs, gyms and indoor sporting venues, cinemas, night clubs, and religious gatherings will close in new measures that are expected to last at least six months. Restaurants and cafes are allowed to continue operating on a takeaway basis, and bottle shops are also exempt from the measures.

Affected locations include:

Jonathan Van Der Knaap
Jock Zonfrillo confirmed his longrunning east end eatery Restaurant Orana would close

Many high-profile bars and restaurants have already bitten the bullet over the weekend, from Jock Zonfrillo’s Restaurant Orana to live music pub The Grace Emily Hotel, following Friday’s announcement that indoor venues would have to restrict their capacity to one person per four square metres of floorspace.

As we reported last week, those early measures provoked a flurry of activity from restaurants and cafes resolving to remain open as long as ‘social distance dining’ were possible. Those that remain open will now be rushing to further pivot their model towards takeaway meals only.

As recently as Sunday cinemas including Palace Nova Cinemas and Goodwood’s 750 capacity Capri Theatre were telling patrons they would be remaining open, while other chains detailed one-seat-gap minimums to encourage social distancing. Now, they’ll all shut their doors.

It’s a remarkable turnaround from the messaging of the government just over a week ago, when Scott Morrison told reporters he hoped to attend one last Rugby League match before the first round of event restrictions took hold on 13 March.

As of Sunday 22 March, there have been 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Australia. Readers are advised to consult SA Health’s website for the latest information.

Walter Marsh

Walter Marsh

Digital Editor
See Profile

Walter is a writer and editor living on Kaurna Country.

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