As the end of the Riverina's month long lockdown fast approaches, workers in Griffith's hospitality sector are preparing for a Super Saturday event as locals head out to celebrate and reunite with family and friends.
From 12:01am on Saturday venues will be able to open subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
Masks will remain mandatory for indoor hospitality spaces, but will not be required when eating or drinking or whilst in an outside space in a hospitality venue.
Operations Manager at The Area Hotel, Matt Hardwick said that whilst the lockdown period had brought with it plenty of uncertainty, all the staff were excited to get back into the kitchen and behind the bar this weekend.
"The last couple of days some staff have been in here prepping getting everything set up and stocked up again just in case the Riverina was lifted from lockdown which has now happened," Mr Hardwick said.
"Going off how busy we were last year when we were allowed to reopen after lockdown I expect that we will be absolutely slammed.
The phone started ringing for bookings whilst the press conference was still on!"
"During lockdown we have seen how supportive the community is of local business so coming out it would be great to see this support continue whilst respecting the restrictions still in place," Mr Hardwick said.
Executive Chef of the Bull and Bell restaurant at the Gem Hotel, Anthony Fullerton, said that the moment the news that the Riverina would leave lockdown, and hospitality venues could reopen, chefs rushed in to start preparations for the weekend.
According to Mr Fullerton, the restaurant is already booked out.
"We have kept our numbers lower than usual to ensure we meet the one person per 4sqm rule and will be making sure all attendees closely abide to relevant social distancing and mask wearing protocols," Mr Fullerton said.
He noted that when the restaurant shut down, it wasn't just them that were affected, by the suppliers that provide fresh meats and produce for the menu.
"It's been a challenging month for us but lets move forward because lockdowns hurt small towns like Griffith," Mr Fullerton said.
"The first weekend out of lockdown everyone wants to go out and celebrate with their family and friends however we must make sure that we follow the appropriate rules and procedures in place to ensure we don't go back into lockdown."
Whatever you do to celebrate leaving lockdown, make sure you do it in a COVID safe manner.
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