R&CA MEDIA RELEASE: Weddings left behind as restaurants and cafes prepare to reopen

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) has today welcomed the announcement of the NSW Government’s Roadmap to reopening but has expressed disappointment at the harsh restrictions on weddings as NSW begins to reopen during a peak season for hospitality venues across the state.

R&CA CEO Wes Lambert said that while rules for restaurants and cafes will see the sector reopen in just over a month, wedding venues will continue to be strangled by harsh restrictions – with no end in sight.

Mr Lambert said the rules governing restaurants and cafes mirrored submissions made by R&CA to the NSW Government in August & September and commended the NSW Government for the inclusion of industry associations & key stakeholders in the roadmap’s development.

‘While R&CA warmly welcomes today’s announcement that will genuinely reopen restaurants and cafes across the state with uncapped patrons both indoors and outdoors – to leave our sector on two different speeds just continues to hurt businesses who have already borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months’, Mr Lambert.

‘It is simply not good enough to say to thousands of wedding venues across NSW “You have to wait even longer before you can reopen”. For these businesses, support mechanisms like JobSaver and the Rental Code of Conduct must be extended until these business can reopen fully’, Mr Lambert said.

‘A cap of 50 people is just impossibly low and means that many weddings will not proceed until restrictions are relaxed further. While this is a step in the right direction, there is a long way before many businesses can genuinely say they are “open for business". Without ongoing government support until NSW hits 80% double vaccinated and restrictions are eased further – these businesses genuinely risk closure’, Mr Lambert said.

Mr Lambert said that R&CA will continue to press the NSW Government on further removal of density restrictions and weddings caps once the state reaches 80% double vaccinated.