Territorians getting back on the wagon – or is it off the wagon? Doesn’t matter, beer is here after COVID-19 shutdown

by | May 15, 2020 | News | 0 comments

After a nearly sobering two months of coronavirus quarantine in the Northern Territory – it’s finally beer o’clock today as stage two of COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. 

The Territory’s highways have been busy the last couple of weeks as fresh beer supplies started to roll out to pubs, clubs, hotels and roadhouses across the NT.

Territorians can choose from nearly a thousand local businesses that have been given a greenlight to re-open their establishments after completing COVID-19 training.

More than 175,000 litres of beer has been brought to the Territory in recent days, including 1000 kegs of XXXX GOLD that was fast-tracked and hauled by road to Darwin for the mouth-watering opening of pubs and clubs today.

XXXX GOLD brewer Lion has ensured a keg convoy carrying 75,000 litres of draught beer will make its way to the thirsty Territory this week.

Lion Australia boss James Brindley said the tap beer will be icy cold and fresh today.

“The first time you’re back at your local you’ll have to sit, eat a meal, and stay for only a set period of time. This is all about keeping everyone safe,” Mr Brindley said.

“We guarantee the taste of fresh XXXX GOLD on tap. It can’t be beaten.

“March 23 was the most gut-wrenching day our industry has ever seen.

“We did our bit to minimise the financial burden, announcing within hours that we would credit $25 million for unused kegs left stranded at pubs and clubs.

“We want to do all we can to support NT local pubs and clubs on the road to re-opening.”

And while the easing of restrictions are reason to celebrate with a frothy one, Territorians are still required to maintain social distancing measures as they visit establishments, which means there could be line-ups.

Territorians itching to visit the pubs may still need to skull their beer as attending the venues is for no more than two hours and drinkers are required to eat a meal. These venues include restaurants, cafes, and bars.

Last week, Chief Minister Michael Gunner welcomed beer trucks to the Territory, saying the beer was a sign of the economy bouncing back, giving the embattled hospitality industry a much-needed boost.

The NT will be the first jurisidiction in Australia to re-open its fine drinking establishments.

“Because we are the safest place in Australia, we can do this before the rest of Australia,” Mr Gunner said.

The easing of restrictions is expected to restore thousands of jobs to the NT’s hospitality sector.

But Mr Gunner said because there are no tourists in town, Territorians needed to step up.

“That comes with a responsibility to get out, buy local, back a local and do it safely,” he said.

Northern Territory Chief Health Officer Dr Hugh Heggie has reminded Territorians not to go overboard and that “it’s not time to do a pub crawl.”

“Stay in your social network. Go out,” Dr Heggie said. “Go and enjoy the national parks, the business premises, have a meal and a drink. But do it safely and within that network bubble.”

Re-opened businesses will be subject to health spot checks by environmental health officers and fines could be issued to individuals and establishments not complying.

NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker warned Territorians on Thursday, “don’t be a clown, don’t ruin it for everybody else”.

“We are not going to be out and about targeting people who are just going about their business,” he said. “But, if you are going to disregard messages, we are going to take sanction.”

Mr Chalker also reiterated that RBTs would be out in full force this weekend.

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