Clubs hold on to hope of imminent re-opening

Penrith RSL remains closed due to the current lockdown. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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With vaccinations rates rising, people are dreaming of enjoying time at a pub or club again but the reality of when they can reopen is still unknown.

This week Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced NSW had reached its target of six million jabs and is now looking to get 70 per cent of people fully vaccinated to enjoy some freedoms.

Penrith RSL CEO, Neel Chand, said that there is a push from clubs to safely reopen as soon as they can, with lockdown currently extended until the end of September.

“There is definitely a discussion happening between our association and the State Government with how pubs and clubs can start operating again,” Mr Chand said.

“Gladys has said she hopes to ease something in coming weeks and could be looking at hair dressers first up so if lockdown ends in September there might be a chance for us.”

Penrith RSL CEO Neel Chand.

Mr Chand said the hospitality industry is willing to follow guidance from the government to ensure the safety of its staff and patrons.

“I think we can open the clubs as a very safe environment but I think it will be a case of only allowing those who are vaccinated to enter,” he said.

“There might be other restrictions such as the square metre rule but I see no reason why we cannot reopen with the right measures.”

With some of the community claiming that a ‘no jab, no entry’ policy is discrimination, Mr Chand said the RSL is only focusing on safety.

“Some will say it is about discrimination but it is about the economy and moving forward in the safest way possible,” he said.

“We want to be able to re-employ all of our staff, have the lowest risk for our members and move on from this time.”

Panthers CEO, Brian Fletcher, said it is still too early to predict when they will open the doors again.

“We haven’t got a clear idea… but if they continue the high doses over the next few months we could realistically open in some capacity in November,” Mr Fletcher said.

Panthers Group CEO Brian Fletcher. Photo: Melinda Jane.

“I think there will be a lot of compliance with things such as a one in four square metre rules, social distancing, wearing masks in some sections, and possibly vaccination.”

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