An internal document which ABC obtained claims that ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis informed association members that they would be able to accommodate more than 500 customers when clubs reopen on Monday.
The ClubsNSW circular contains several pieces of information which some people would term as controversial. Chief among these is Landis’ claim that ClubsNSW ‘heavily influenced the reopening plan’ regarding how high the number of patrons inside a club can be.
Pushing the Limits
The leaked document details how the number of guests insde a venue will be calculated under the 4 sqm distance rule. It says that the previously discussed upper limit of 500 guests in a venue will be removed as ClubsNSW insisted on more favourable numbers instead.
The key factor which determines how many patrons a venue will be able to entertain is the number of “dining areas”. The document clearly outlines however, that a dining area “will not be assessed in connection with the presence of a kitchen.”
This allows for additional guests to be accomodated to the previously agreed maximum of 500, even though that number was tentative to begin with. This is because the NSW State Government said just last week, that the maximum number a people a venue will be able to welcome will be 50 people.
If the venue was a pub or a club with multiple restaurants or cafes, then an additional 50 people would also be allowed per each dining area.
During the ClubsNSW and government officials meeting the question of a limit of 500 people was also discussed and apparently both parties agreed on it.
However, in the internal document, Mr Landis claims that ClubsNSW pushed hard for the limit of 500 patrons to be removed. In fact, he even goes on to claim that there will be no upper limit on the number of people allowed inside a club. Instead, the upper limit for each venue will be decided solely on the number of dining areas a club has.
Measures Which Clubs Need to Take
In the same document, Mr Landis also outlines the measures which each club will need to implement to prevent commingling.
One such measure is to have separate entry and exit points in each venue. Another one is to use the PA system to instruct customers to limit their movement and not to move back-and-forth between areas.
In addition, there must also be a clear plan on how each room and area will be accessed by customers. Key here would be to clearly mark the nearest restrooms so that patrons don’t make unnecessary trips to ones which are further away.
Finally, there would also have to be CovidSAFE Marshals present which will follow the movement and grouping of customers. If there is a need, they will be tasked to separate patrons, unless of course they are from the same family.
NSW among First States to Start Reopening Process
NSW is the first state to allow pokies gambling once again, but the 1.5-metre distance rule between players will have to be respected.
This is also emphasized in the Clubs NSW document which also goes on to outline how this would be done. The document suggests for chairs to be removed and machines to be relocated so that distancing rules could be met. If that is not possible, then other methods of machine spacing would have to be implemented.
As soon as this has been accomplished, NSW clubs will be able to start operations immediately. In fact, they will be the first ones to do so as other states are still lagging behind with reopening procedures.
Victoria for example, still has no plans for gaming rooms to reopen. June is definitely not going to be the month in which this happens and pokies players there will have to wait for a while longer.
Similarly, South Australia also doesn’t have any plans for reopening even though it only has just one active Covid-19 case.
Other states such as Queensland have at least set a date after which operations can resume. However, the fact that Queensland pokies machines will be unavailable until July 10 at the earliest is far from ideal for northeast players.
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