As at 2 June 2020
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to be eased, albeit at varying levels across the states and territories, we have consulted with our State Association colleagues to provide you with this summary of each state / territory and how that translates to the grape and wine sector.
Queensland is in Stage 1 of its three-stage plan, with Stage 2 flagged to start on 12 June and Stage 3 on 10 July. At present, metropolitan licensed restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered clubs, RSL clubs and hotels, may offer seated dining for no more than 10 patrons at a time (with COVID SAFE Checklist), and it’s 20 patrons at a time if the venue is in a specified local government area (LGA) in Outback Queensland as long as these patrons are local and can provide proof of residence. The sale and supply of alcohol for consumption on premises must occur with a meal.
The current information is that wine tastings in cellar doors will only be permitted after 10 July. As this situation is changing rapidly, we strongly recommend Queensland wine businesses visit the Government’s website to check specific advice for hospitality businesses.
We also encourage Queensland wine businesses to read the Queensland Government’s Easing of restrictions FAQ’s and COVID Safe FAQs.
New South Wales
Cellar doors can immediately resume wine tastings in line with the clarification to the Public Health Order. A cellar door can open to the public to sell food and drinks:
From Monday 1 June 2020 ...
- NSW cellar doors will move in line with restaurants and cafes. Up to 50 people can visit your cellar door at any one time, as long as physical distancing rules are followed.
- Guests will need to be seated to ensure the distancing rules can be enforced.
- Wine tastings will be allowed without the necessity to serve food.
South Australia will be bringing Step 2 of the easing of restriction forward to Monday 1 June. From 1 June you can open your cellar door for wine tastings without the requirement to serve food. Maximum capacity is 20 people in any single room. However, wine must be consumed while seated at tables that are physically separate from any bar or other area that’s used for taking orders The number of people present must not exceed more than 1 person per 4 square metres and the 1.5 metres social distancing must be adhered to. You can read more about specific activities here. Businesses reopening after COVID-19 restrictions will need to create a COVID-Safe Plan. Read the Premier’s Press Release.
Wineries will be able to seek to temporarily change or expand their licenced footprint, as part of measures aimed at helping the hospitality sector adjust to imminent changes to restrictions on non-essential businesses. All licensed venues that can offer food and beverages seated at a table will be able to apply for the short-term licence. Venues can apply for a licence here.
This will be available to licensed venues at no cost and, if approved, could allow the consumption of liquor, seated at a table, in a part of the premises that previously wasn’t covered by the licence – whether that’s a separate room, an expanded existing outdoor area or a new outdoor area. The short-term licence application will not involve usual application processes to amend a licenced area. Approvals will be in place for 6 months after which licensees wishing to do so could apply for a permanent change through the normal process. The Liquor and Gambling Commissioner will work with local Council areas to ensure the appropriate approvals are in place for use of any Council land. View the media release here.
A new tourism campaign has been launched to get South Australians back out into the regions following a long period of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.5 million ‘Welcome Back’ campaign signals the start of a major recovery phase for regional communities, some of which have endured not just the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions, but also drought and fires. Launched by the South Australian Tourism Commission, the campaign urges South Australians to explore their own backyards, spend time in our regions and in our city, and help rebuild the state’s domestic tourism sector. View the media release here.
The situation is the same as previously advised for Tasmania. There are three stages of eased restrictions.
Under Stage 1 (current), cellar doors are currently able to open for takeaway wine / food sales only (no tastings) or for onsite food / dining (with wine ancillary to food) - maximum 10 people at a time (or 10 in maximum of two separate areas if space permits - eg indoor / outdoor), 4m2 per person, table service only, contact details obtained, COVID-19 Work Safety Plan in place, social distancing and hygiene measures.
From 15 June (Stage 2), this increases to 20 people at a time.
From 13 July (Stage 3) for 50-100 people at a time (details to be confirmed, subject to health advice).
Technically, wine tastings can currently be offered if people are dining onsite, however this has to be at the table, with consideration to hygiene and time between staff and guests being minimised, so we're recommending pre-poured wine flights as the best option, with disposable tasting notes and spittoons.
For normal cellar door operations - tastings and people able to consume wine only (ie not with food) - this is expected to be permitted from Monday 13 July (Stage 3), when pubs and bars open in Tasmania.
In terms of travel, from 15 June, Tasmanian's can travel intrastate, camp or book accommodation. At this state there is no date on when interstate visitation might be permitted, but it won't be before 13 July (Stage 3) and it is expected there will be four weeks of the Stage 3 levels before further changes.
The Tasmanian COVID Safe Framework can be found here.
As of June 1, cellar doors will be able to provide free, seated-tastings for guests.
For wineries with a restaurant or café, they will be able to sell alcohol by the bottle and glass, or sell a tasting experience, if they are serving with a seated meal.
In addition, they can sell full bottles from their cellar doors for consumption away from the premise. As part of the sales process, where the liquor licence permits it, a cellar door may also choose to offer free samples of its produce to a seated customer to help the customer choose what to buy – but they will not be able to sell a tasting or wine by the glass, unless it is accompanied by a meal.
Please refer to the Hospitality Industry Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19) for more information.
To enable social distancing rules to be enforced, wineries will need to adapt cellar doors to seat patrons. If you have licensed outdoor areas these may also be used for seated tastings.
WA remains the same presently – liquor must be served ancillary to a meal, with a meal being as defined in the Liquor Control Act.
What has changed is the further lifting of travel restrictions intra-state so that most of the state is accessible apart from northern and eastern biosecurity zones.
Wines of Western Australia have been working with the state government to have tastings at cellar door without food reinstated and have used the Australian Grape & Wine Cellar Door Reopening Protocols as a guideline for how this could happen.
With the long weekend coming up, there is a call for further easing of restrictions across all hospitality sectors.
Wines of Western Australia’s recent conversation with government was that all things are being considered. An announcement could come at any point, which is hopeful but not helpful, particularly if businesses do not have adequate time to prepare for a new way of operating.
Cellar Door Protocols
We hope you have had a chance to read through the Cellar Door Reopening Protocols we distributed on Monday, 25 June.
For those wineries who are open for tastings (in line with the directive of the state you operate in) we ask that you use this document to ensure you are complying with the COVID-19 health and safety requirements.
For those who are still unable to conduct wine tastings, this document will assist your preparations for opening with tastings when that date is announced by your state government.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Food and Beverage industry
As more markets enter the recovery phase with the number of COVID-19 infections coming under control, supply chain issues are gradually being resolved, and more focus will be on economic recovery, consumer behaviour and other issues.
Food Industry Asia have developed a fantastic dashboard, illustrating the impact on the food and beverage industry. Dashboard as at 29 May 2020.
In mid-March DrinkWise began developing community-focused education that incorporated alcohol consumption, self-isolation and wellbeing messaging specifically for the COVID-19 world. This strategic shift allowed DrinkWise to provide practical advice around consumption in a manner that resonated amongst increasingly confused and worried consumers, particularly as concerns arose that Australians may be drinking more to cope with the stress of isolation during COVID-19 restrictions.
We encourage our members to peruse the DrinkWise COVID-19 resources available. You can find them on a dedicated page on the DrinkWise website, which also incorporates tips for moderating, practical resources including the DrinkWise Standard Drinks Calculator, DrinkWise Body Health Tool and links to support services.
We have been talking with the Government around a tourism strategy to help recovery. The key elements of such a strategy are as follows:
A tourism recovery strategy is required after the sector was severely impacted by the emergency measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country. International and domestic tourism was already struggling in 2020 following on from the bushfire crisis.
The wine sector is an important contributor to tourism, but we recognise that this is only part of the picture. Any tourism strategy needs to be staged to concentrate on intrastate, then interstate followed by international tourism. Open borders and clear guidelines around venue operations will be a critical element of this. Australia’s economic recovery will be spearheaded by a domestic recovery. Tourism will be a major part of this.
The elements to the strategy need to include:
- Domestic marketing campaign.
- Campaign aimed at returning people to the regions.
- Strong underpinning of health-related measures. This will be vital in ensuring confidence to resume tourism and insuring against further COVID-19 outbreaks.
- Digitalisation strategy to help the route to market following visitations.
- International media campaign to promote the sustainability, quality and experiential nature of Australian wine. This needs to include the elements to dissipate the international perspective generated by the bushfire crisis that Australia is on the edge of an ecological crisis. It can build on our fine record in dealing with the health impacts of COVID-19.
The ‘Great Lockdown’: the global economic impact of COVID-19
We are pleased to provide you with the latest from Wine Australia’s Market Insights team.
COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on the global economy in 2020. In previous Wine Australia Market bulletins, they have addressed the impact on wine and alcohol sales in Australia’s key markets. In this bulletin they cover the greater impact on the global economy, which will no doubt affect consumer behaviour and spending in the months to come. Read the latest Wine Australia Market Bulletin.