BY GABRIELLA HOLLO
The hospitality industry is coming back to life as venues are once again occupied by customers after two months of forced closure.
However, due to COVID-19 regulations, the dine-in experience is not quite what customers remember.
The State Government is allowing up to 20 people to dine-in at restaurants, cafés and bars since the businesses either closed down or operated as strictly take-away since March 25.
Venues will now also need to follow limits of one customer per four square metres and are required to keep the contact details of every person who dines-in.
Barista at artesian chocolate café Xocolatl Tina Partsioglou said she was looking forward to serving people in-house, but only if the community is considerate of one-another.
“As long as everyone’s respectful of each other’s space, I think it will be good to get things back to normal and bring people back into a consistent routine,” Ms Partsioglou said.
Mister Bianco oner Daniela Vargetto said she is also happy she can open her restaurant doors again.
Ms Vargetto said she found the overnight transition to take-away quite challenging back in March, but she “just made it work”.
“The hardest thing was that on March 22 and 23 we were open and relatively busy, then to find out on the Sunday that we had to close - the rug suddenly was pulled out from under us,” she said.
Mister Bianco was one of the first restaurants in the Kew area to do take-away menus, making it popular to locals.
“[We] gained so much support as well as gaining lots of new customers,” Mr Vargetto said.
Customers are also excited to be able to sit-in and socialise over a meal.
Dawson café customer Joanna Layton said she was “ very excited” cafes are reopening and she “can’t wait to dine with her friends”.
“I’ve really missed going out for brunch with my friends so it will be good to do that again now that restrictions have lifted,” Ms Layton said.
Premier Daniel Andrews said his message to Victorians has shifted from “stay home” to “stay safe”.
“Keeping our distance means we can open cafés and restaurants,” Mr Andrews said.
“In all your activities, be considered.
“Be cautious. Use your common sense.”