Businesses have welcomed the easing of restrictions in the capital which will see double the number of people allowed indoors ahead of summer, saying it will allow them to put on extra staff just in time for the busy Christmas period.
Businesses will be able to double their patronage by having one person per two square metres of usable space both indoors and outdoors from today (2 December), and Canberra Stadium and Manuka Oval will be able to have 65 per cent of their seated capacity.
“It means we will be able to have more people in the pub and with that doubled capacity we will be able to put on three times the staff so it is basically bringing the business back to normal,” BentSpoke co-founder and head brewer Richard Watkins told Region Media.
“We really do count on the big holiday months of December and January. They are popular times for people to come out and enjoy a good beer so now that we can have more people, it will be really important for us as a business.”
Capital Brewing Co’s partnerships manager Dan Watters said the changes could mean some businesses make it to 2021.
“We supply beer to a lot of partners around town and for them it is massive, it is absolutely huge. It could be the difference for survival for some of those smaller businesses,” he said.
The easing of restrictions comes just in time for this afternoon’s One-Day International between Australia and India at Manuka Oval. The sold-out event is set to welcome around 6,000 fans through the gates.
For local brewers BentSpoke and Capital Brewing, the timing couldn’t be better, with both being awarded the pouring rights for the eight matches at Manuka Oval this month.
Both breweries created special mid-strength beers for the cricket: the Silly MID On from BentSpoke and Six and Out from Capital.
“As a long-term cricket fan, I can’t wait to see Canberrans get to enjoy great local craft beer at historic Manuka Oval. We are glad that we had just enough time to brew Silly MID On in time for the first over to be bowled,” Richard said.
“I hope that everyone who comes to the cricket over the next month has a good taste.”
But he diplomatically refused to be drawn in on the classic Canberra derby – whose beer stacks up better.
“It isn’t really about which beer is better, it is about having two really good local beers on offer for people to try. Both breweries have their own little ways of making their beers so both are high quality and have good flavours.”
Business Minister Tara Cheyne encouraged Canberrans to shop – and drink – local (and responsibly) as the Territory continues to progress out of its COVID-19 restrictions.
“I am sure that Canberrans will be supporting local in cheering on Australia,” she said.
“In supporting local they are supporting small business, and in supporting small business they are also supporting local jobs [which] supports Canberra in being a thriving city.
“Of course the pandemic is not over and while there is so much to celebrate we need to ensure that Canberrans continue to adhere to the restrictions and the health advice.”
For more information on the ACT’s season of cricket, visit Manuka Oval.