The news New South Wales residents have been dreading looks like it might become reality, at least in one sector – the government will reintroduce tighter social distancing restrictions for the state's pubs.

At a special meeting of the State Cabinet on Monday night the Berejiklian government decided to reduce group bookings at pubs from 20 people back to 10, and large venues will have to cap patrons to 300 patrons, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Other news sources, including Channel 9 News and ABC journalist Rhett Burnie, have relayed the same information.

The reported impending change to the state's Covid-19 rules follows the outbreak of 21 coronavirus cases at the busy Crossroads Hotel, in Sydney's south west. It also comes after a photo posted on Reddit, taken around 9pm last Wednesday night at Double Bay pub the Golden Sheaf, showed a line of punters stretching from the door down the street, with less than 1.5 metres of space between them.

The changes – to be announced on Tuesday – are reportedly said to apply only to pubs, not clubs or restaurants. Tighter restrictions will also not apply to the Star casino, even as a patron who visited on Saturday has since tested positive for Covid-19. (The casino was also fined $5000 today for not adhering to social-distancing rules, with inspectors finding groups mingling and standing together drinking on the weekend.)

The government is also likely to tighten rules around venues' collection of contact details in case of an outbreak, Sydney Morning Herald reports.