COVID-19 has forced James Souter’s (pictured) business to adapt to the new normal.

COVID-19 has forced James Souter’s (pictured) business to adapt to the new normal.

11 November 2020

James Souter, owner of lakeside restaurant The Boat House, and the newly opened Armada Bar, says further easing of the ACT’s COVID-19 restrictions is “great news”.

The key changes, which come into effect from 9am on Friday, 13 November will permit all gatherings to increase to a maximum occupancy of 500 patrons (from 200) for each usable space, subject to density restrictions being met. This will assist community events, with the COVID Safe Event Protocol also updated to reflect these changes. Further to this, patrons in an outdoor space will be able to eat and drink while standing, rather than having to be seated.

“Guests can now stand out on the deck, admire the view and mingle with friends while waiting for their reservation,” James said.

The Armada Bar opened last month

“Standing in a bar environment allows for more natural movement. It will give guests the ability to get up and walk around and enjoy the company of all their friends.”

The change to allow eating and drinking while standing in outdoor spaces reflects the considerable evidence that outdoor spaces present a lower risk of transmission of COVID-19 compared to indoor spaces. Keeping distance between groups and people you don’t know also continues to be an important COVID Safe behaviour when out and about.

James said he had opened the Armada Bar as a way of extending their venue capacity during the pandemic.

“We needed to adapt to the conditions and leverage more of the space that was available to us. The new set-up has been really well received by the customer base,” he said.

“It has been a really tough year. We needed to look into new revenue streams that we hadn’t realised before. The bar was the final piece of the puzzle to get us close to where we used to be.”

The Armada Bar was opened as a way of extending their venue capacity during the pandemic.

The business has also introduced a virtual menu and ordering platform.

“It’s like ordering Uber Eats, but for restaurants,” James said.

When dining inside The Boat House, guests can browse the menu, order and pay without having to walk up to the point of service. James expects this system will make it a lot easier for the venue to manage the different rules for indoor and outdoor spaces.

The Boat House and Armada Bar’s booking system also requires patrons to provide their contact details. Walk-in guests are also encouraged to use the Check In CBR app to register their details.

To find more information about the changes to restrictions, head to covid19.act.gov.au/what-you-can-do/faqs-changes-to-restrictions

All Canberra

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