Restaurants 'told to close from Sunday'
As Australia takes drastic action to help stem the spread of coronavirus, it has been revealed restaurants are expecting to be next to go into lockdown.
My Kitchen Rules judge Colin Fassnidge told The Morning Show restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes had been warned to be ready to close their doors as soon as Sunday.
"We've just been told that all the restaurants and clubs need to close on Sunday, so we're going in to close down our restaurants today," the Sydney chef said.
Fassnidge would not reveal where the directive had come from, only telling the breakfast show he'd been told "on the quiet" to "be ready to close down Sunday".
"It's more or less going to be Sunday or a few days after. I'm a bit worried today, so we'll see what happens," he said.
The Sydney restaurateur who runs By Fassnidge at Banksia Bistro said he would not be taking a wage for the coming weeks, and his business "won't be making any money".
He said he had already asked permanent staff to take paid leave and was making every effort to keep casual staff employed as he awaits more information in regards to a stimulus package.
He said under normal conditions, his restaurant served 150 customers on a Saturday night; this week it served just 20.
"Nobody knows what's going to happen. Everyone's saying restaurants could be closed for up to three or four weeks," Fassnidge said.
Fassnidge said his restaurant and other would continue preparing food for takeaway and home deliver, and urged diners to continue to support restaurants by ordering those meals. "You don't have to sit down," he said.
While a formal dictate is yet to be issued, this hasn't stopped some eateries from ensuring their customers are safe, should they choose to visit.
La Camera Southbank, an Italian restaurant located on Melbourne's Southbank has introduced new measures to offer diners peace of mind when visiting its establishment.
On arrival, guests will have their temperatures to assess if fever is present by using a handheld device similar to those used by doctors, the restaurant announced via Instagram.
While fever is a common symptom, the testing may not be accurate because those infected with the virus don't show symptoms immediately.
It is understood the move follows restaurants across Asia and the United States taking similar measures.
In a statement, owners of La Camera said they and staff were committed to "going the extra mile" to customer health and safety.
"Our team members including managers, bartenders, floor and kitchen staff have been fully briefed about the specific protocols to follow in relation to this virus.
"We are fully prepared with both preventive and responsive measures. We are going the extra mile when it comes to our menus, tables, cutlery, glassware, etc.
"We are using disinfectants that are effective against the coronavirus. Hand-sanitiser dispensers have been placed throughout both venues and are available at any time.
"We have also increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitising hard surfaces such as doors, touch screens, rest rooms and so much more."