The pubs in the remote Northern Territory in Australia reopened today after two months of isolation with enviable photos of gamblers enjoying a pint.
The Prime Minister of the region, Michael Gunner was among the first to enjoy a cold drink when the Cavenagh Hotel in Darwin opened today at noon.
To celebrate the end of a 53-day dry spell, he said, “I think I’ve earned one and I think many Territorians have earned a beer too.”
In preparation for the big day, a truck convoy had transported some 300,000 liters of beer on the long highway to the north.
The sparsely populated Northern Territory has had fewer than 30 Covid-19 cases and no deaths among the 250,000 inhabitants.
However, it is not only back to normal.
The “new standard” poses a number of important limitations, including tables with a larger gap and a two-hour time limit for drinkers.
Publicans have again hired staff who had been laid off since the country shutdown in March and created additional seats for an expected rush to pubs in the wild area made famous by the movie ‘Crocodile Dundee’.
At the Berry Spring Tavern, about 30 miles southwest of Darwin, landlord Ian Sloan rushed to finish a kitchen renovation and put extra furniture in the parking lot so he didn’t have to send anyone out.
“It’s quite limiting, but at least it’s the first stage, and people can see light at the end of the tunnel,” Sloan told reporters.
He says he plans to enforce the two-hour time limit by giving customers color-coded wristbands upon entry. Under the new rules, all drinkers must also eat a meal, so he will set up a free barbecue.
Sloan said he planned to take back some of the 22 staff he sent back in March when the federal government ordered the closure of nonessential public areas.
But he was cautious given the closure of the state and national borders.
“If there are no tourists this year, the Territorians will hopefully go outside and look around their own backyard,” he said.