New South Wales restaurants, cafès and pubs will be able to seat 50 guests for dine in from Monday 1 June.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian made the announcement on 22 May, saying the increased capacity would come with very strict guidelines.

Venues will need to continue to adhere to physical distancing measures, including one person per 4 square metre density requirement.

Table service will be a must with guests to remain seated. Mingling and standing around will be prohibited.

Buffets will remain banned, as will shared cutlery.

Single bookings can be taking for up to 10 people only.

The government is working with industry groups to determine clear guidelines.

While police have not been directed to count patrons, any venues disregarding distancing rules will be shut down.

“What the [NSW] taskforce has determined through consulting with the industry is how determined everybody is to ramp up their activity and prove good customer service in a COVID-safe environment,” said Premier Gladys Berejiklian during her announcement.

“What we are doing between now and 1 June is making sure the rules, regulations and guidelines are in place so that everyone adheres to them very strictly.”

The Premier added that the NSW taskforce had been focused on making sure the roadmap to recovery was one with safety at its forefront, but also acknowledged that many businesses and operators would not survive the shutdown.

“We already know that for many of these businesses they won’t be coming back at all, but for those who are viable, for those who have managed to hang on, we are ensuring we are working together to provide that safe environment,” she said.

“Things will be very different, imagine even something as simple as having joint cutlery on a table won’t exist anymore, a simple buffet won’t exist anymore, a communal food bowl won’t exist anymore. There will be very strict guidelines because the last thing we want to do is to have to shut businesses down because they haven’t complied and the last thing we want to do is go backwards.”

She added: “We know this is a big step, but the regulations and the rules we’ll be putting in place will be very strict to make sure safety is paramount. But it is a significant time in the history of our state and we have a no regrets policy in keeping the community safe, making sure everything we do is to protect lives, but also making sure people aren’t long-term unemployed and we can bounce back from the devastating economic shock.”

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