As hoteliers settle into operating under stage 3 easing of restrictions it’s important to take a moment and reflect on how far we have come, thanks to the dedication of Queenslanders, including our hotel licensees and staff.

We have managed to move from almost complete closure back in March to being able to enjoy a meal and drink with our nearest and dearest in licensed venues just months later.

As we continue to enjoy this ‘new normal’ it’s important to not forget the threat isn’t over as the recent incident in Logan would attest, and we need to stay on track to reduce the risk of the virus re-entering our local communities.

Moving back to seated dining and drinking

On Friday 24 July Queensland’s Chief Health Officer (CHO) Dr Jeannette Young announced the requirement for hotels, pubs, clubs and nightclubs to return to seated drinking and dining immediately.

As social distancing is a key element of the strategy to minimise community transmission the CHO directed people be seated when attending licensed venues as it reminded them to keep their distance from others.

People can still go up to a bar to order pay and collect purchases, but they must then sit at a table. They can sit at the bar if there are chairs, provided they meet patron density requirements.

Dr Young thanked venues for taking this approach as she knew it was difficult to have tables and chairs in place, but said it made physical distancing easier to achieve.

She also emphasised the importance of adhering to the restrictions, including the gathering of patron contact information, as the aim is to be able to identify the first case in a cluster, not the 65th case. Once the virus spreads it is very hard to control, and restrictions will immediately need to be imposed on everyone.

People must take this seriously because we are at a difficult stage. We have seen what has happened in Victoria and NSW with just a few cases that got out of hand, and they’re now struggling with varying degrees to get on top of that.

Given the timing of CHO’s direction, OLGR Compliance officers educated and worked with venues to achieve compliance over the first weekend of these restrictions.

Explaining the ‘why’ to patrons

We've received a lot of feedback from industry, including hotels, about the lack of understanding among patrons about how venues are required to operate. This can be challenging for staff when doing mandatory tasks such as collecting contact details or encouraging physical distancing.

Everyone plays a role in ensuring we stay on track and while the Queensland Government continues to raise awareness through advertising and social media, you are also in a unique position to share these important messages with your patrons.

Queensland Health is raising awareness about record keeping through the media and their social media channels.

Advertising campaigns on stage 3 also continue to be shown across media outlets, which encourages all Queenslanders to visit the website and learn how the rules apply to them.

There is also a suite of COVID Safe resources for individuals and workers that you can download and display at your venue.

Social media and in-venue awareness continue to be an effective way to reach patrons.

Since last month, we’ve shared some patron-facing messaging on our Facebook page and encourage you to share this content across your business pages, to help spread the word.

If you have any advice on how we can support you more effectively with this, please also drop us an email.

Thank you for supporting Responsible Gambling Awareness Week

Thank you to those who raised awareness of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week (RGAW) (27 July – 2 August) in their venues this year.

This year’s theme was ‘Getting help is a safe bet,’ and reminded people to stop, take a breath and think about their gambling – highlighting the help that is available.

Ensuring the responsible service of gambling at your venue is a year-round commitment but it is great to have a week to show your patrons just how committed you are to prioritising customer care and minimising gambling-related harm at your venue.