Bunbury venues gearing up for “massive” weekend as phase 4 kicks in on Saturday

Headshot of Shannon Verhagen
Shannon VerhagenSouth Western Times
Live music at the Burly pre-covid.
Camera IconLive music at the Burly pre-covid. Credit: The Burlington Hotel

Bunbury venues are gearing up for a “massive weekend” with revellers expected to flock to the CBD in droves on Saturday to celebrate the highly-anticipated Phase 4 coronavirus restrictions.

Gathering limits will only bound by the 2sq m rule, standing will be permitted in pubs and clubs and people will no longer have to sign a register before entering food and drink venues.

The news brought with it a flurry of excitement throughout the community and for many venue owners, an overwhelming sense of relief.

“Honestly, thank God,” Burlington Hotel manager Fleur Mayne said.

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The last two weeks, running around making sure everyone is sitting down and registered and having the police, who have been great, coming in to check all the time — it’s been exhausting.

Fleur Mayne
The Burlington Hotel.
Camera IconThe Burlington Hotel. Credit: Shannon Verhagen/Shannon Verhagen

It serves as a major step towards normality for the historic watering hole — known for its live music and karaoke — and one that patrons have been hanging out for since they reopened for Phase 3 on June 6.

“Everyone’s been going, ‘I wanna dance,’ and we’ve had to keep saying ‘you can’t’,” Ms Mayne said. “It’s really exciting that we can get back to normal.”

It will be all hands on deck at the Prince of Wales Hotel, with manager Jacqui Thorn saying they were gearing up for a big Saturday night.

“We’ve pretty much got the whole team on,” she said.

We’re really excited and we’re also really relieved to not have to be pestering our customers to sit down any more. It’s going to be great to get things back to normal and for our customers to feel comfortable again.

Jacqui Thorn
Prince of Wales general manager Jacqui Thorn.
Camera IconPrince of Wales general manager Jacqui Thorn. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

Bunbury Geographe Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Mark Seaward said the easing of restrictions was particularly important for bigger venues like pubs and clubs and there was plenty of excitement throughout the community.

“I think we’re all very much looking forward to it,” he said.

Now people just have to re-hire people and see if they can get their staff back. It’s a process of re-establishing their business, but I don’t think anyone’s complaining.

Mark Seaward

Grand Cinemas yesterday announced it would be reopening on July 23.

As part of Phase 4, events — except large scale music festivals — will be back on the cards, gyms will also be allowed to operate unstaffed and major entertainment and sporting venues will be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity.

It could not have come sooner for the Burly, with the owners just weeks ago fearing they would not be able to reopen if coronavirus restrictions forced them to stay closed much longer.

To celebrate, Ms Mayne said the pub would host two local live music acts as well as karaoke on Saturday night.

It is anticipated WA will enter Phase 5 on July 18.

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