In an effort to reboot the hospitality sector NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to host up to 50 people from the beginning of June.
Under the new measures venues will adhere to the four-square-metre rule while maintaining a strict “no mingling” policy.
The premier described expanding the social-distancing limits as a “big step” in the state's economic recovery from the coronavirus lockdown which would “safely” bring back thousands of jobs.
“This decision has been made with expert health advice and both businesses and patrons will be subject to strict rules and guidelines,” Berejiklian said.
“All customers must be seated and no bookings of more than 10 allowed, in addition to many other conditions which must be met.”
Policymakers had fast-tracked the roadmap for reopening the economy, working extensively with both the AHA and ClubsNSW, following a rapid slowing in the rate of new infections.
Since mid-May, dining venues have been able to hold maximum of 10 patrons at maintained social distancing, including alcohol table service with meals at NSW pubs and clubs.
With the state's population properly versed in pandemic protocol over recent weeks, authorities will have the flexibility to roll initiatives back if relaxed measures begin to look worrying.
Earlier this month it was revealed that only 51,269 employers from a total 728,640 applications in the accommodation and food sector had been enrolled in the government's job keeper scheme.
Treasury has estimated that the sector will lose about 441,000 jobs in the June quarter as a result of the government's coronavirus restrictions.
Despite this, NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet said 280,000 employees across the country in the hospitality sector were currently being supported by job keeper.
“We know that we need to give them as much support as possible, so when the JobKeeper program concludes, that as many of those employees are able to transfer from the JobKeeper program into paid wages,” Perrottet said.
“There are about 280,000 people employed in this sector of the economy and allowing venues to safely cater for more customers will provide another boost to business and jobs.”
On Friday the federal government announced it had overestimated the number of workers eligible for the job keeper program, dialling the program's now cost back to an estimated $70 billion rather than $130 billion.
The Australian Tax Office and Department of Treasury said the reporting error meant that the number of recipients would reduce from from 6.5 million to 3.5 million.
The downgrade has been put down to increased easing of social distancing rules as well as 1,000 businesses errantly applied for the scheme online.
Treasury will review the scheme by June and provide refinement options to the government, including a potential gradual phasing out of the program instead of a hard stop for all recipients by late-September.