Wagga hoteliers gathered in record numbers on August 11 to discuss the coronavirus pandemic which has seen their industry shed tens of thousands of employees.
The AHA's director of liquor and policing John Green joined publicans and other venue owners as they met with Riverina Police Superintendent Bob Noble and licensing supervisor Sergeant Nigel Turney.
"What we've done is get a bit of a snapshot on how hotels and all licensed premises are performing during these critical times," Mr Green said.
Mr Green, who met with both the AHA's local branch and the Wagga liquor accord, said NSW hotels were still operating at only about a quarter of their capacity.
"When we shut down back in March, 94 per cent of hospitality employees were stood down. And for the hotel sector, that meant about 70,000 to 74,000 employees were either stood down or let go," he said.
"With the current status of where venues have been able to open, we've probably been able to employ about 45 to 50 per cent of our staff and that's why it's important that we were able to continue trade."
He said hoteliers were working under "very difficult conditions" as they kept up to date with constantly evolving COVID-19 restrictions.
The NSW government introduced a new suite of protective measures for pubs, clubs and restaurants in late July which mandated "hygiene marshalls" during busy periods and digital records of patron details.
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"We're mainly speaking about the importance of social distancing, patrons being seated while consuming alcohol, and having in place a range of measures to keep venues COVID-safe," Mr Green said.
"We know that we are operating to keep patrons and our staff safe and that's our priority, but it's also important that venues are allowed to trade to kick start and tick over the NSW economy."
Mr Green said he and his colleagues felt sympathy for their Victorian counterparts, as the state continues to struggle with stage 3 and stage 4 lockdowns.
"If we were to face a Victoria-like shutdown, that would be devastating for our industry. You'd probably see a number of venues undergoing a second shutdown never opening again," he said.
"That's why it's vital we have all the practices in place here."
Australian Hotels Association Wagga president David Barnhill said he had "never seen such a big turnout" in his twenty years of attending Liquor Accord meetings.
"Everyone wants to be compliant, they want to be responsible," Mr Barnhill said.
"We just want to be ticking the boxes. We're doing what we've got to do."