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NSW restaurants could seat 100 patrons in coronavirus restriction loophole

New South Wales restaurants may be able exploit a loophole to seat as many as 100 patrons as more coronavirus restrictions are slowly lifted. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced last week limits at pubs and restaurants would be capped at 50 people from this Monday. 

Though the Weekend Australian reports industry documents present a secret loophole that could double the number of patrons allowed in at any one time. 

Restaurants are allowed to seat 50 people in an 'existing seated dining area'.

New South Wales restaurants may be able exploit a loophole to seat as many as 100 patrons as more coronavirus restrictions are slowly lifted

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced last week limits at pubs and restaurants would be capped at 50 people from this Monday

The clause is left open for interpretation to possibly mean as many as 50 people could be seated indoors, a further 50 outdoors and some more in private dining rooms.  

Even so, customers will have to be seated at tables and must have four square meters per person, meaning smaller bars and cafes will not be able to fit 50 people inside. 

There will also be no buffets or shared cutlery and bookings will be limited to 10 people. 

Diners will have to register their name and phone number when they enter the premises so they can be contacted in the event of an outbreak.  

'You have to be seated at the table, you have to be served at the table. 

'There is no mingling, no standing around. There are strict guidelines in place, which will ensure that we can do this safely,' Ms Berejiklian said.

The Premier said she made the move to get Australians back into work after 210,000 lost their jobs in the state in April. 

'We are making sure people aren't long-term unemployed, and that we can bounce back from the devastating economic shock,' she said. 

Up to 20 people will be allowed to attend weddings, 50 at funerals and 50 at places of worship from Monday onwards. 

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant outlined the risks requiring management.

'Places of worship will be asked to find alternatives to practices that might spread the virus, like singing, sharing books and even passing around the collection plate,' Dr Chant said on Friday.

Though the Weekend Australian reports industry documents present a secret loophole that could double the number of patrons allowed in at any one time

Restaurants are allowed to seat 50 people in an 'existing seated dining area'

'Communal singing and chanting should not occur because of the high risk of transmission.'

Anthony Fisher, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, on Friday said in a statement the Catholic Church would abide by all government health regulations.

'The closure of our churches and indeed of all places of worship has been deeply distressing for many people of faith in our community,' Archbishop Fisher said.

The archbishop of the Anglican Archdiocese of Sydney says Anglican churches are well prepared to return to services with a maximum of 50 people.

Hand sanitisers will be available at each entrance, churches will be thoroughly cleaned between services and designated ushers will record the contact details of each attendee.

The clause is left open for interpretation to possibly mean as many as 50 people could be seated indoors, a further 50 outdoors and some more in private dining rooms

Even so, customers will have to be seated at tables and must have four square meters per person, meaning smaller bars and cafes will not be able to fit 50 people inside

'We realise that this is not the normality we enjoyed in 2019 ... We are grateful for the relief, joy and comfort that many parishioners will feel in meeting again in public Christian worship,' Archbishop Glenn Davies said in a statement on Friday.

It comes as NSW on Friday recorded two new COVID-19 cases from more than 9900 tests, both of whom were returned overseas travellers in Sydney hotel quarantine.

The total number of coronavirus cases in NSW is 3092 with one person in intensive care.

Meanwhile, the state government has a fight on its hands to get a 12-month public sector pay freeze through parliament, with upper house crossbench MPs vowing to block the measure.

Ms Berejiklian on Thursday raised the possibility of job losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic unless the proposed freeze was endorsed on Macquarie Street.

The freeze is expected to save $3 billion which will be reinvested in public projects.

But NSW Labor, the Greens and the Shooters Party have this week flagged they will block the move in the Legislative Council, with one crossbencher arguing the coalition is engaging in 'economic blackmail' during a health crisis.

Ms Berejiklian last week sought a freeze on pay rises for MPs, which was extended on Wednesday to include the entire NSW public service comprising 410,000 workers.

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