‘Sit-in areas and food courts not the same as pubs and restaurants’ – CSNA hits out
The sit-in areas of shops and forecourts are not in the same vein as packed pubs and seated restaurants, the CSNA’s Vincent Jennings has said as he voiced concerns raised by members.
“While our members have got used to the restrictions and requirements, there are frustrations that our members are being treated the same by the state – as if their sit-in areas are on a par with packed bars and restaurants.
“It’s simply not the same – most people are in and out in twenty minutes and only around 20% of those buying food will sit in to eat it. Our members with food courts in store are being penalised – and there doesn’t seem to be a willingness by the State to have a clear understanding that these types of businesses don’t have the same level of perceived threat as pubs and restaurants.
“They are very different entities and operate to a different business model. How people use these types of food forecourts is very different – we need more sensible service protocols,” said Vincent.
“The overheads remain the same – rent still has to be paid and so do staff – yet the State looks on these businesses the same way as a classy restaurant. They’re so different – with food courts – customers walk in, get what they want and the vast majority don’t stay and use the seating areas.
“There really needs to be an understanding about this – it’s not a small industry, yet it is affecting many franchises and small businesses that all contribute to the economy.
“We are disappointed – but the situation is changing by the day. These are essential services. If every entrance to the seating area needs to have a member of staff there, and if people have to prove they are vaccinated or recovered – or have children under 18 with them – that presents enormous difficulties. If there’s a group – what happens if three or four have certificates and one doesn’t?
“A lot of members have simply decided not to re-open their seating areas until they have clarity – but the landlord still wants to be paid.
“While there is no distinction between restaurants and pubs yet – the risks are completely different. The state has taken a blanket approach – these decisions are coming from civil servants who don’t appreciate the difficulties this is putting on the service industry.”