One Southern Highlands businessman is breathing a huge sigh of relief with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Peter Dean copped a triple whammy when the Federal and State Government announced the closure of hotels in mid-March.
The regulation meant that Peter lost business from not one, not two, but three hotels in the Southern Highlands.
It was devastating news for the businessman who is co-owner of the Royal in Bowral, the Burrawang Hotel and Bundanoon Hotel.
- Gladys Berejiklian announces wage freeze for all NSW public sector workers
- Man accused of defrauding Southern Highlands elderly granted bail
- Don't overlook this source of house fire this winter
- Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens opens new picnic area
- Southern Highlands brigades can now apply for funding from Celeste Barber Facebook campaign for NSW RFS
He was even more upset about having to tell his loyal staff that there was no work.
Peter was equally saddened about having to shut the doors to some of his most loyal customers.
"Some of those customers live alone and going to the pub is their main social outlet," he said.
"We've been checking on those customers weekly, but it is not the same for them."
Fortunately the opportunity to head down to the local for these and other customers will soon be back on their social calendar.
Peter and his staff are eagerly waiting to open the doors to all three pubs when restrictions are eased on June 1.
While Peter's three pubs have, for the most part, been closed during the restrictions there has still been plenty going on behind the scenes.
"After about three weeks we opened the Bundanoon Hotel for takeaway beer and pizza from Thursday to Sunday," he said.
"However, we used the shut down period to give the Royal and Burrawang Hotel a freshen up and did some much-needed maintenance."
But when the restrictions ease on June 1, the doors to all three hotels and their respective bistros will be open to the public.
Peter said that the many familiar faces on the staff were eager to get back to work and catch up with customers.
He said the new restrictions would allow for up to 50 customers in the bars and 50 customers in the bistro where the two spaces were physically separated.
This is all dependent on each outlet being able to maintain all the social distancing requirements.
"Basically our pubs will be able to run at about one third of their normal capacity," he said.
Peter said that tables would be set up to allow for social distancing and sanitiser would be located throughout all premises
He said anyone in the bar section of his hotels would be required to provide their name and phone number as per the State Government requirements.
"This is in case we have to do any contact tracing," he said.
Bookings will also be essential for those keen to dine out in any one of the bistros linked to the three hotels.
"We have created an abbreviated, shorter menu with all the pub classics, as well as some specials," he said.
"This is to help with ease of catering.
"Each sitting is for a maximum of 1.5 hours."
Peter and his staff are now counting down the days until these three local watering holes are open, and no doubt so are their loyal customers.
Bookings for the bistros can be made as follows:
Did you know the Southern Highland News is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.