When the New South Wales government announced on Friday May 22 that the state’s restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes would be allowed to admit 50 people from June 1 (up from 10), it felt like Sydney let out an enormous sigh of relief. It triggered an en masse scramble for the city’s hospitality community to figure out exactly what that would mean for their individual venues.
One of Sydney’s biggest venue owners, Merivale, wasn’t immune, and today it has announced it will progressively reopen 30 of its restaurants, pubs and bars from next Monday. This is in addition to Mr Wong, Bar Totti's, The Paddington, Lotus 2.0 and Jimmy's Falafel, which all began accepting dine-in customers a couple of weeks ago.
“This is the best news we’ve had in months, and marks the real beginning to hospitality’s road to recovery,” Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes said in a statement. “Whilst we are still a while away from operating all our venues at full capacity, the increase to 50 customers is a huge leap forward and one that will result in an exponential increase in employment.”
From next Monday June 1, guests will be able to knock back a drink at the Newport (bar only), the Royal Bondi, and Vic on the Park, or enjoy a meal at Totti’s.The following day, tacos will once again be served at El Loco Excelsior and Francophiles can feast at Felix. Then, on June 3, we’ll once again be allowed to visit the Beresford, Charlie Parker's, Fred's, Mimi's, Ms G’s, Queen Chow Enmore and Una Mas. Bert's, Little Felix and Queen Chow Manly will reopen the following day and on the Friday of that week, the rest of the Newport will begin trading as normal.
As per government guidelines, all patrons must be seated, and venues aren’t allowed to take bookings for groups of more than 10 people.
A few days after the government lifted restrictions to allow venues to trade with 10 people, Merivale reopened Mr Wong and The Paddington Hotel, taking bookings only. Bar Totti’s, Coogee Pavilion, Lotus 2.0 and Jimmy’s Falafel also began accepting walk-ins. It had also been running takeaway and delivery from a number of its most popular diners.
However, this is the closest to “normal” for the company since it closed all 70-plus of its venues on March 24. The group will continue its takeaway and delivery services for the foreseeable future, until trade is able to return to normal.
See the full list of Merivale reopenings here.