Restaurants, cafes and pubs in Melbourne have been dealt another blow with the reinstatement of Stage 3 restrictions.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the news on Tuesday, confirming venues in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire must cease dine-in trade and only offer takeaway and delivery.

“Based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer and across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions will be reinstated from 11:59pm on Wednesday 8 July,” said the Premier.

“I know just how tough this will be for these businesses and for their workers. I promise, we’ll have more to say shortly about support to help get you through.

“I also understand six weeks might feel like an eternity. But it’s the time our health experts tell us they need to really get on top of this thing.”

Melbourne venues only commenced dine-in trade on 1 June with a cap of 20 patrons. The state announced plans to increase numbers to 50 in July, but the plans were scrapped just weeks later, with the announcement venues would only be able to host 20 people at a time until 12 July.

However, the state’s recent spike of COVID-19 cases has resulted in another lockdown.

Lucas Restaurants CEO Chris Lucas commented on the news on Instagram on Wednesday: “Tomorrow we start all over again. Six weeks of takeaway to keep our community safe and fed well. To my staff and restaurant friends we will get through it no matter what. To the rest of Australia please support us. Don’t think it might not happen to you.”

The reinstatement of restrictions has left venues in the lurch, with many operators finding themselves with a surplus of produce they won’t be able to clear running off takeaway sales.

Khanh Nguyen’s restaurant Sunda Dining went all out for their last night of trading, offering customers a $120 secret surprise menu which included a “mix of our classics menu and our full experience menu. Caviar for all. Scarlet prawns for all.”

Lee Ho Fook will continue offering the at-home menu the team debuted during the initial shutdown, with plans to launch “an exciting series of experiences over this stay-home session”, according to chef and owner Victor Liong.

Hannah Green from Etta Dining said the team will take a short pause before reopening again.

“The team at Etta and I are going to have a little rest this week and collect our thoughts, have a little bit of down time and come back next week with a new takeaway offering.”

Image credit: Concrete Playground

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