An influential industry body has pitched a proposal to allow Canberra's tourism and hospitality businesses to reopen and start rebuilding from the COVID-19 shutdown.
The Canberra Region Tourism Leaders Forum has written to Chief Minister Andrew Barr to suggest a range of conditions under which bars, restaurants, clubs and tourist attractions could reopen safely and in line with physical distancing rules.
Temperature tests should be required for every person entering a venue, while time restrictions could be imposed on visits to tourist attractions, according to the letter seen by The Canberra Times.
Food buffets would be banned and all bar stools and furniture removed from inside a venue.
The group even suggested that if the ACT government was concerned about NSW residents "invading" the nation's capital when restrictions were initially lifted, patrons and visitors could be asked to show "proof of residence" before entering a venue.
The forum's chairman, David Marshall, wrote in the letter that the more than 20 measures were "very feasible and highly recommended".
"Our rates of (COVID-19) infection are very low and can remain so with the sensible introduction of the ideas above," Dr Marshall wrote in the letter.
"These ideas will not only allow these venues to generate urgently needed cash flow but greatly assist families and others suffering from the isolation imposed over recent weeks, and those with mental health issues to reconnect with nature and the environment generally."
Dr Marshall sent the letter before Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the three-stage plan to roll back the restrictions rushed in to slow the spread of COVID-19 across Australia.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has since agreed to allow Canberra's cafes and restaurants to reopen from midnight on Friday, but with a limit of 10 patrons at a time.
Tourist attractions remain shut, while interstate travel is still off the cards.
The Australian Hotels Association and Clubs ACT this week said that most hospitality venues wouldn't reopen with the 10-patron limit in place.
The hotel association's general manager, Anthony Brierley, on Tuesday called for a rethink of the restrictions which limit the number of patrons a venue can accommodate.
He suggested that the one person per four square metre rule be replaced with different conditions, such as a requirement that venues have a dedicated staff member to police social distancing.
Many of his suggestions were included in the tourism forum's pitch to Mr Barr. Mr Brierley is a member of the forum's board.
Dr Marshall told The Canberra Times that it made the submission to Mr Barr after he invited suggestions from the industry.
He stressed that the ideas were put forward by industry, rather than health, experts. He said businesses and operators would "absolutely accept" and follow the guidance of the territory's chief health officer and ACT government in regards to the lifting of restrictions.
However, he said the sector, which has been among the hardest hit by the economic crisis, wanted to be proactive in plotting an exit from the shutdown.
"The industry has given this a lot of thought," he said.
"Some of the ideas that we put forward they [the ACT government] might think are perfectly helpful, others they might not thing are so critical.
"We are just trying to be proactive, rather than expecting the government to do all of the hard yakka.
"The industry is very keen to be part of the solution."
Dr Marshall expected that venues would adopt some of the measures long after the pandemic passed.
Mr Barr addressed questions about the relaxation of restrictions on the hospitality sector earlier this week.
He maintained the government would follow the advice of the nation's chief health officers, insisting that it wasn't going to start "making up its own rules that was completely outside of their advice". He said restricting the number of people gathered in one place meant that potential outbreaks could be contained.
As for conducting temperature tests on patrons, Mr Barr said that while he didn't object to the idea, there were questions about how effective it would be.
"My understanding is that it won't catch all, it won't solve all of the issues. And it might not be practical to be able to temperature test every single person," he said, adding that the government wouldn't mandate testing.
At the press conference, Mr Barr said that once interstate travel restrictions were lifted, the ACT government would embark on the largest domestic tourism campaign in the territory's history.
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