A Wagga hotel owner is "super stoked" to hear that his patrons can stand up and mingle while enjoying a schooner at long last.
Yesterday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced from 12.01am Friday NSW residents were allowed 50 guests in their home, up from the current 30-person restriction.
NSW has recorded 38 days without a local COVID case, and one of the changes is that residents will be able to stand and have a drink in hospitality venues from March 17.
Owner of the Red Steer, Ben Stratton, said he was thrilled to hear the news.
"I think that has been one of the main challenges, in terms of operating as a traditional hotel, in not allowing people to mingle as it was intended," he said.
"It's been very challenging because customers, through no fault of their own, forget what the rules are.
"It's an ongoing concern for staff to be putting in the extra effort and making sure all the rules are followed, so it's just been an added layer of stress."
Mr Stratton said it was a huge relief and looked forward to the day when his patrons could mingle while enjoying a drink.
Singing and dancing are also back, with 30 people singing in choirs and 30 people allowed on the dance floor at weddings. Ms Berejiklian specified all guests at a wedding could dance but in turns, with only 30 people allowed on dance floors at one time.
Congregations are once again allowed to sing, however, if they are going to, they must wear a mask and move back to the four-square-metre rule. Ms Berejiklian said if COVID cases remain under control, the government would re-evaluate the 300-person cap of people at weddings in three weeks.
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Despite the easing of restrictions, Ms Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged residents to stay alert to the risks of COVID.
"You can have 50 people in your house, but you need to do so with caution," she said.
"We're at a critical stage of the pandemic, the vaccination rollout has started, and I'm confident people will take up the opportunity for the vaccine, but in the meantime, we have to be as vigilant as ever and make sure you don't get complacent."
Mr Hazzard said residents must maintain common sense and recognise how lucky NSW was to be able to lessen restrictions.
"NSW is opening up more and more, but as we do that, people can't be complacent, the complacency issue has been an issue from the go, but as we open up ... people think it's all over ... it's not all over," he said.
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