Onus on restaurants to comply with orders

Restaurant and café owners will carry the burden of ensuring their establishments are not overcrowded, after Government moved to relax state of emergency rules to allow for more economic activity amidst mounting job losses.

On Tuesday evening new amendments were announced, including allowing restaurants to open between 6am and 9:30pm for diners to stay in, rather than operate as takeaway only establishments. 

They must all continue to offer takeaways as well. 

Owners must enforce strict physical distancing measures including keeping their groups of patrons two metres apart including from other patrons in the same party.

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NE.O.C..) Chairman, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, said the Government will not be setting a numerical cap on how many diners are permitted in an establishment at a time, nor how many people may dine at one table together at a time, leaving it to owners and managers to handle.

The amendment does not include reopening nightclubs and bars with no restaurants, such as (but not limited to) the R.S.A. Nightclub, Cocktails on the Rocks and Seana Bar, Ulu said.

It also does not include the bars attached to hotels and restaurants. 

Establishments with liquor licenses will be permitted to sell alcohol to their diners, but not those taking away meals. 

“If you can fit more than five people who are seated two meters away from each other, this is allowed in a restaurant, for the period permitted for dining, from 6am to 9.30pm," Ulu said.

He added that each person in each group dining, must be two meters apart.

"It works well for restaurant and café owners to set up their settings accordingly before opening hours, which some have done amazingly well.

“If a patron orders beer or another alcohol drink in the course of a meal, and the restaurant offers this drink for restaurant meals, the patron is entitled to this.

“If [a hotel] has a restaurant, under the Order this restaurant may open. If alcohol is ordered as part of the meal and this is offered by that restaurant for meals, the patron is entitled to this. But all bars, inclusive of “bars attached to restaurant and hotels” remain closed, under the Order.”

The full orders as they relate to public gatherings: 

There shall be no public gathering of more than 5 people at any public place. 

There shall be no public gatherings of any sort which include but are not limited to: church gatherings; sports events; entertainment gatherings.

All nightclubs, bars, theatres, bars attached to restaurants or hotels, or any other public place people accustom for social gatherings are to be closed.

All people are prohibited from gathering at airports or wharves unless it is for permitted travel.  

Restaurants are opened for dining on the following conditions: opening hours from 6.00am to 9.30pm and to provide customers with food to take away for consumption away from a public place (at home) and the restaurant owners to monitor and enforce the 2 meters social distancing rule.

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