Popular New Year’s Eve eateries overlooking the harbor were hit by an avalanche of cancellations after the northern beaches eruption closed an already difficult year for restaurants and bars heavily dependent on Sydney tourism.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continued to rise and the state government’s response escalated, Buckleys Bar near the Opera House canceled its New Years event and closed its doors after being informed on Tuesday that a patron was dying 17th. December has since tested positive completely.
Cafe Sydney with a direct view of the Harbor Bridge has lost half of its New Year’s bookings. Photo credit: Dominic Lorrimer
Buckley’s owner Damian O’Reilly had reopened the bar in early December after a month-long hiatus and started taking bookings for a New Year’s party – which was $ 595 per capita for the premium outdoor spots – just to keep the Avalon cluster going see « diabolical » trading conditions deepen.
« We decided to cancel the event shortly before the notification [from NSW Health of the confirmed case], » said O’Reilly.
Ordinarily, by Christmas, the venue would have sold out 60 percent of seats for the New Years event. That year, demand was already weak and the December breakout caused an immediate collapse in trade.
« When we had the cluster announcement for the northern beaches, the game was basically over at that point, » he said, wondering when he would reopen the bar.
Cafe Sydney, which overlooks the bridge from Customs House, has had 50 percent of its reservations on Dec. 31 since the COVID-19 outbreak. December lost and « rolls with the beats » as the venue prepares for a downsizing celebration.
The venue’s general manager Todd Cummins said the $ 1000 per capita New Years event usually sells out by August. Under COVID-19 restrictions and at a $ 800 discount, this year’s event was fully booked until the weekend before Christmas when the Northern Beaches cluster emerged.
The reintroduction of the « one person per 4 square meters » rule, which was tightened from the « 2 square meters » rule, also meant that Cafe Sydney had to rearrange its facilities, but no customer was involuntary due to the large volume of cancellations a place denied.
« It’s a very challenging landscape right now and we’re rolling with the strokes. But at least we’re open, « said Cummins.
Industry sources told the Herald that other popular New Year’s spots – including the InterContinental, Glenmore Hotel, Eastbank, and Searock Grill – have also had large numbers of cancellations in recent weeks.
Sydney Harbor will still have fireworks at midnight, but the restrictions announced by the government this week have greatly reduced the number of people who can watch from normally busy spots by the water.
From Thursday, 17. 00 a.m., important viewpoints for fireworks in the CBD and on the lower north coast such as Circular Quay and Milsons Point are only accessible to residents and people who book in a permit system in restaurants or hotels.
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New Year’s Eve, Coronavirus, Victoria, New South Wales
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