Restaurant owners slamming government limits for 10 customers, saying its too low to rehire staff or in some cases even reopen right now.
Restaurant owners slamming government limits for 10 customers, saying its too low to rehire staff or in some cases even reopen right now.

‘10 customers - what’s the point?’: Venue's rage at limits

A SURFERS Paradise eatery owner and a bar-restaurant boss say a new 10-customer limit is too low for them to rehire staff or come close to covering costs.

Operators of longtime Italian restaurant Costa D'Oro in Surfers Paradise and nearby bar-restaurant White Rhino Bar & Eats are scratching their heads at the Queensland recovery plan.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk outlined the three-step plan yesterday after a green light from Prime Minister Scott Morrison to start reopening the economy. Stage one allows pubs, restaurants, cafes and RSLs to host a maximum of 10 patrons at a time from next Saturday.

Surfers Paradise Italian favourite Costa D'Oro is offering takeaway - but co-owner Nuccia Fusco - handing takeaway over to driver Darren Graham - said a Government customer limit of 10 for the planned May 16 reopening is unworkable. Picture Glenn Hampson
Surfers Paradise Italian favourite Costa D'Oro is offering takeaway - but co-owner Nuccia Fusco - handing takeaway over to driver Darren Graham - said a Government customer limit of 10 for the planned May 16 reopening is unworkable. Picture Glenn Hampson

It jumps to 20 patrons from June 12 and up to 100 people from July 10 as long as coronavirus cases stay low.

Costa D'Oro Italian restaurant co-owner Nuccia Fusco says they will struggle to make enough to cover wages but will reluctantly open the venue's doors.

"(But) 10 people? What is the point?," she told the Bulletin.

"We can't bring staff back for 10 customers. We will do it and have a table set up for 10 or two groups of five.

"But we can't put any staff on and certainly can't make any money out of that.

Costa D'Oro owners Michael and Nuccia Fusco. Photo by Richard Gosling
Costa D'Oro owners Michael and Nuccia Fusco. Photo by Richard Gosling

"I'm hoping that enough operators will complain and they will make it about space required not customer limits.

"If they are doing this for safety they should do it based on the 1.5 metre rule."

Mrs Fusco, whose venue has converted to takeaways and fed out-of-work staff for free since the coronavirus shutdown, said midway through Ms Palaszczuk's unveiling of the roadmap to recovery rules yesterday she started doing "cartwheels" and texting staff they would have their jobs back before she realised it was 10 customers maximum.

"The government is dragging this out for another two months under that plan - that's two months our staff will need to try and survive."

Surfers Paradise’s White Rhino operator Matt Keegan: “Having only 10 people in a venue of our size, it would just be infeasible for us to operate.” Picture: Glenn Hampson
Surfers Paradise’s White Rhino operator Matt Keegan: “Having only 10 people in a venue of our size, it would just be infeasible for us to operate.” Picture: Glenn Hampson

Costa D'Oro Italian has been trading on the Glitter Strip for the past 30-plus years.

Artesian Hospitality partner Matt Keegan, whose stable of venues includes White Rhino plus nightclubs Sin City, The Bedroom and Havana, said:"Unfortunately with the restrictions in place being 10 people, it makes it impossible for us to really open.

"Having only 10 people in a venue of our size, it would just be infeasible for us to operate.

"Obviously we are already doing takeaway and we're doing home delivery - things like that.

"So a change to 10 patrons for a venue like ours unfortunately wouldn't work."

Asked how many people it would take for White Rhino to open, Mr Keegan said

"It's hard to five a fixed number as we are trying to work out what we can do to change things in order to re-open. However, I think realistically I think it needs to be at least 50 to 100 people for us to be able to operate - given the level of overhead we have to have."

Originally published as Venue fury: '10 customers - what's the point?'


Council approve $50k Tara pool remediation works for summer season

Premium Content Council approve $50k Tara pool remediation works for summer...

WESTERN Downs Regional Council has approved urgent works to repair the Tara Pool...

REPLAY: Palaszczuk v Frecklington in final debate

REPLAY: Palaszczuk v Frecklington in final debate

Annastacia Palaszczuk v Deb Frecklington in final election debate

Tight lipped offender caught with drugs and stolen bow

Premium Content Tight lipped offender caught with drugs and stolen bow

‘No comment’: A young Tara man refused to answer any of police questions after they...