Current Issue #488

Indoor dining, alcohol service to resume from Friday as South Australia steps up COVID-19 rollback

Minestra
Sia Duff
Minestra in Prospect [Editor’s note: Yes, there are three too many people in this photo]

The state government has tweaked its ‘roadmap’ to winding back COVID-19 restrictions, with restaurants and cafes now allowed to serve alcohol and open their doors to diners from Friday.

In a briefing this morning Premier Steven Marshall outlined a slight acceleration of South Australia’s staged relaxation of COVID-19 public safety measures. From Friday 22 May, cafes and restaurants will now be able to offer limited indoor dining in addition to that outdoor dining that partially resumed last week.

There are strict limits: only 10 patrons are allowed in each indoor or outdoor seated area, with the one person per four square metres rule and 1.5m social distancing requirements still in place. Additionally, the earlier ban on serving alcohol alongside sit-down meals will also be lifted from Friday.

The news comes just over a week after the first stage of South Australia’s rollback began, with cafes and restaurants permitted to resume outdoor seated dining, intrastate travel once again encouraged, outdoor sports training resuming and caps on funeral attendance partially lifted. According to the Premier and Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, the conduct with which businesses and the public embraced last week’s initial loosening of restrictions was encouraging enough to bring the timeline forward.

The second stage, originally slated to take effect from 8 June, has also been brought forward to 5 June following calls to allow more traders and regional businesses take advantage of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. That means cinemas and theatres, galleries and museums and competitive sport will be able to reopen in just over a fortnight. No word as yet if AGSA will bring forward its previously-stated 8 June reopening date, but it seems likely.

Since the national cabinet first laid out a broad national framework, states have been variously adjusting the rate of their rollback. While the Victorian government maintains a relatively slow and cautious pace, New South Wales has notably brought forward its timeline with pubs reopening for dining last Friday – despite New South Wales continuing to identify new cases.

With South Australia currently recording zero active cases since Friday, Marshall said he is in no rush to heed calls to relax border restrictions. “There’s pressure coming left right and centre, but we’re making our own decisions in south Australia – we’re running our own race,” Marshall said.

“Sure it would be great to open up our borders but it’s not going to happen any time soon. We’re still seeing high numbers interstate every single week of new cases in particular cases of community transmission, and that really worries us in South Australia. We’ve fought so hard to get ourselves to this position, we’re not going to cede it by opening up our state borders too early.”

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As of Tuesday 19 May there have been a total of 439 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Australia, with zero active cases in the state. Of that tally, 435 people have officially been cleared of the virus, with over 81,000 tests undertaken. Readers are advised to consult SA Health’s website for the latest information.

Read the state government’s COVID-19 recovery plan here

Walter Marsh

Walter Marsh

Digital Editor
See Profile

Walter is a writer, editor and broadcaster living on Kaurna Country. His work has appeared in Rip It Up, Broadsheet, The Saturday Paper, The Guardian Australia, The Thousands, dB Magazine, Jetstar Magazine and Royal Auto. 

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