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Premier passes the pub test as trucks roll out to end bush beer drought

Politics

Forty years ago, Tooheys had to be trucked into Queensland amid a beer shortage. As hotels start to reopen from this weekend, XXXX will make sure there’s no pub with no beer.

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Ahead of the staged easing of pandemic restrictions, premiers and chief ministers have been asked, often comically, when people can head to the pub again. It is the stuff of memes and parody accounts.

Today, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made sure she was on hand at the XXXX Brewery in Brisbane to farewell truckloads of beer destined for regional Queensland.

It wasn’t quite the parting of the waves. It paled in comparison to Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bognor chaining themselves to the public bar at Brisbane’s Regatta Hotel, 55 years ago, to push for women’s rights.

But Palaszczuk had a fluoro vest on, as she stood between kegs and the media, and was keen to emphasise that restrictions on pubs were being eased under the pandemic response.

“Today, I couldn’t think of a better place to be,” Palaszczuk beamed.

“This weekend, our restrictions are easing and in the Outback they’ll be able to have 20 patrons in the local pubs and clubs and cafes and restaurants, being able to enjoy a meal, a beer or a glass of wine.

“And I really want to thank XXXX because they’re looking forward to doing a great run out to our pubs out west and they’ll be delivering, of course, the liquid gold, the XXXX Gold.”

Outback areas where there have been no COVID-19 cases will be allowed a larger number of patrons than regional and urban areas, where the limit will be 10 from this weekend. On June 12, the outback limit will be lifted to 50, and in other areas to 20, and then from July 10, indoor gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed.

Palaszczuk thanked Queenslanders for their efforts in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. She said the latest tally of COVID-19 cases was 1052, with 18 still active, the only addition overnight being an “old case”.

The State Government has released a roadmap detailing the nature and timing of restrictions to be eased, and Palaszczuk today sought to clarify that nail and beauty salons could open to a maximum of 10 clients at any one time from Saturday.

“There is a lot of interest in this issue, my office has been inundated,” the Premier said, adding that men and women had been asking.

While business owners have been eagerly awaiting advice on when they can reopen, or open in full, publicans and the hospitality sector have paid extra attention to the finer points of the roadmap. For example, outback pubs will only be able to serve locals, and across the sector the easing of restrictions will still come with a requirement of only one person per four square metres indoors, which may not be economically viable.

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