The Accommodation Association has urged Victorians enjoying social freedoms last enjoyed 16 weeks ago to embrace their state and plan a future holiday or short break to support struggling hoteliers.
“Even with restrictions easing, the future remains challenging for the Melbourne-based hotels which are reliant on international travel and corporate travel,” CEO Dean Long said this week.
The Association encouraged Victorians to book directly with their chosen hotel to help their funds stay within Australian businesses. As a result of impacts from bushfires and the pandemic, some hotels have only been able to open their doors for 11 weeks so far in 2020.
Currently, Melburnians are still held to a 25-kilometre radius from their homes, however the Victorian Government has identified November 8 as the date when this too may be able to be relaxed and allow residents to venture out and explore their state once again.
“We do know from other states that the pick-up in regional Victoria will take place very quickly,” Long added.
“People are sick of being cooped up and want to get out and about. In other states across Australia, regional hotels are operating at close to 100 per cent on Friday and Saturday nights and we expect to see that mirrored in Victoria.”
The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has welcomed the city’s reopening, albeit with a message that the current limit of 20 patrons inside a pub, hotel, bar or tavern is not economically viable and must be raised.
“All Victorian hotels have COVID Safe plans and systems in place to ensure safe environments for patrons and staff. This includes digital contact tracing, COVID Marshalls, heightened cleaning and trained staff,” said AHA National CEO, Stephen Ferguson.
“A reasonable first step would have been to allow pubs to recommence with one patron-per-four square metres indoors and one patron per two square metres outdoors.
“75 per cent of Victoria’s pubs will remain closed unless more reasonable limits are allowed – this extreme limit on venue capacity will not result in many people returning to work,” Ferguson added.