Pubs, clubs and outdoor facilities in the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council have reopened today (15 May), albeit with limits of 10 people at a time.
However, publicans are not expecting hordes of Canberrans crossing the border in search of a beer and pub meal.
Following an increase in testing for COVID-19 and no new cases being recorded in the region, the measures are the first step in easing restrictions that have been in place for many weeks.
Hotel Queanbeyan publican Mathew Griffin said alcohol will only be served with a meal and patrons will have to clear their table after one hour. He said bookings are the only way to get a seat but there has been strong interest from people keen to return to the local pub or club.
“These are very small steps in our reopening process and it is aimed at small bookings being able to sit down for a quick meal and drink in a safe and comfortable manner,” said Mr Griffin. “People getting together for social drinks is still a way off, and my staff and I will be following and enforcing the laws the NSW Government has put in place.”
Hand sanitation stations will be set up and must be used before being seated.
Mr Griffin also said furniture has been arranged for social distancing and gambling facilities will not be available.
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council’s playgrounds, outdoor gyms, dog off-leash areas and skate parks have also reopened for community use.
While outdoor pools are able to be reopened under the relaxed NSW regulations, Queanbeyan-Palerang will not be opening outdoor pools in Queanbeyan, Braidwood, Bungendore and Captains Flat due to the cold weather. These facilities are usually closed during winter months.
The Queanbeyan Aquatic Centre’s indoor pool remains closed until further notice.
While outdoor facilities will be reopened to the public, users are reminded they must follow regulations and advice from the NSW Government. Regulations include the need to maintain physical distancing and good hygiene practices, and that groups of no more than 10 people can gather outside.
The NSW Government has advised that residents should wash their hands before and after using outdoor equipment and to assume the person who has used the equipment prior to them has the COVID-19 virus.
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Tim Overall said council staff have been reopening the facilities and that residents should take a cautious approach when using them.
“It is pleasing to see some of these facilities reopen, and I can understand the excitement of residents, however it is very important we are responsible with this relaxation in restrictions and ensure physical distancing remains at the front of mind,” said Mayor Overall.
“Queanbeyan-Palerang residents should also make themselves familiar with changes in the ACT, which also includes the reopening of parks and playgrounds from 15 May.”
A number of other council facilities and services remain closed including libraries, community centres, indoor pools, sports fields for organised sports, customer contact centres, buy-back centres at waste transfer facilities, the indoor sports centre, museums, visitor information centres, and The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre.
“While a number of services and facilities remain closed, we continue to provide service to the community via phone and online enquiries, click-and-collect library services and online assistance for youth and businesses,” said Mayor Overall.
“Staff are developing COVID-19 safe plans for impacted facilities and services to ensure appropriate measures are in place when they are able to be reopened.”
Information about impacted Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council facilities and services can be found on the QPRC website’s COVID-19 page.
Further information about what you can and can’t do in NSW can be found on the NSW Government website.