While restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes have jumped at the chance to reopen again this week, there are still restrictions in place. One of those is that only 20 people are allowed to dine indoors, provided the venue has at least two separate areas inside.

“We know that you know that we only have 20 spots available under current laws inside Cherry and that we desperately need you to spend up big if you secure one of those rare spots. We trust you. Cheers,” iconic music venue Cherry Bar – which moved into a new home on Little Collins Street late last year – wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, when it announced bookings were open.

It opened for its first post-lockdown service yesterday, with all 20 of its spots for the night booked. There was no entry fee, no minimum spend and no cancellation charge.

Only seven people showed up.

“Getting the full 20 people (that's a mere eight per cent of our licensed capacity) is critical. Last night of the 20 bookings, 13 were ‘no shows’. This is heartbreaking,” read a post on Cherry Bar’s Facebook this morning.

It’s now introducing a $25 holding fee for booking, which will not be refunded if punters choose not to show up.

“When you cripple us by booking and then not attending, well … we have to charge you $25 for not allowing us to fill one of our coveted spots. Seem fair?” the post further said.

The capacity for restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes will increase from November 8, allowing up to 70 people outside and 40 inside – but the latter is dependent on the number of total indoor spaces available, and a number of venues are unable to host more than 10 people.