The 50-diners rule is a significant increase in capacity to hospitality venues. As of May 15, restaurants, cafes, and pubs were allowed to reopen their dining rooms to up to 10 people at a time.
The announcement was made on 22 May by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, saying that the increased capacity would come with very strict guidelines.
Venues will need to continue to adhere to the national standards on physical distancing measures which includes the one person per 4 square metre requirement. The Premier acknowledged the difficulties that will be faced by small hospitality venues. "Some venues are small in space, they will only be able to have as many customers as is allowed in that space according to the four-square-metre rule," she said.
Table service will be a must with all guests to remain seated during their dining-in session, meaning all mingling and standing to be prohibited. Buffets will remain closed and shared cutlery will also be banned.
Venues will be able to accept single bookings for groups of up to 10 people only.
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.”