It’ll be a long time between drinks at your favourite pub.
It’ll be a long time between drinks at your favourite pub.

Here's when pubs will reopen in Australia

If you've been dreaming about knocking back a few beers with mates once the coronavirus spread slows down, you're going to have to wait a lot longer.

While the government will review restrictions in four weeks, experts say pubs and bars are likely to stay closed throughout winter even if community transmission of the virus is reduced.

Peter Collignon, a professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, told The Sun-Herald pubs will probably remain closed until spring.


"Unfortunately I don't think until September this year at the earliest," he said. "Winter is coming and that is our next big risk time - for all respiratory viruses, including this one.

"I think for a while longer with large inter-mingling groups inside, we need to play safe which is better than being very sorry afterwards."

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the nation has achieved "a sustained and genuine flattening of the curve" but that afternoons at the pub won't be returning soon: "Even when that decision is made, there may still be significant measures to maintain social distancing and to support good hygiene".

Deserted: Newtown’s busy pub scene is a ghost town during lockdown.
Deserted: Newtown’s busy pub scene is a ghost town during lockdown.

Mr Hunt told The Sun-Herald that even once venues reopen, social distancing restrictions could still apply.

"I understand not having this avenue for social interaction is contributing to this challenging time," he said. "Restaurants, cafes and pubs will reopen when the health advice and government deem it safe to do so."

Several experts told the publication pubs would be last to reopen once restrictions are relaxed, with one saying some venues could open before others depending on their location.

"You could ring-fence areas that haven't quite got the virus under control and allow others to relax to see how that goes as an experiment," Mary-Louise McClaws, a professor of epidemiology at the University of NSW, said.

As of Sunday morning, there have been more than 6500 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia, with 2936 in New South Wales, 1328 in Victoria, 1014 in Queensland, 435 in South Australia, 544 in Western Australia, 188 in Tasmania, 103 in the Australian Capital Territory and 28 in the Northern Territory.

The death toll stands at 70, after a Victorian man in his 80s died overnight in Victoria.

Originally published as Bad news: When pubs will reopen