A Canberra restaurant will commemorate the minute lockdown lifts on Friday with a midnight feast for patrons who haven't been able to dine in for two months.
"We wanted to take full advantage of getting out of lockdown, as quickly as possible," Grease Monkey managing partner Nick Tuckwell said.
The feast at the Braddon site will kick off the moment lockdown lifts in the early hours of Friday, enabling 10 preselected patrons to reenter the venue, "and we thought it was great to celebrate that."
The burger joint ran a competition on social media , asking for positive lockdown stories, to select one winner who could bring along nine friends to their end-of-lockdown meal.
"It was as much about celebrating getting out of lockdown as it was about doing something nice and giving away something to the community who did support us heavily right throughout the last nine weeks," Mr Tuckwell said.
Canberra's lockdown lifts from Friday, allowing hospitality venues to have 25 people across the venue, or one person per four square metres, whichever is less, excluding staff.
If businesses wish to have more than 25 people, they can have up to 50 people in outdoor spaces only, or one person per four square metres, whichever is less, excluding staff.
Mr Tuckwell said the staff were excited about reopening, but after operating takeaway only for nine weeks "there's a lot of things to get sorted."
MORE COVID-19 NEWS:
The road back to reopening has involved a great deal of rostering, cleaning and enacting compliance measures, he said.
"As far as compliance, we've got to make sure that ... our COVID plans are up to date, we've got the right capacity signage, we've got everything ready for customers to go again, so that they feel safe."
Canberra's lockdown has hit business hard, with many of them struggling to access joint ACT-Commonwealth financial support immediately.
Hospitality venues have only been able to operate takeaway services thus far, with some businesses saying the limitations are too heavy, and will bar them from opening up.
Others have already been overwhelmed with bookings from Canberrans eager to get out of their own four walls.
Mr Tuckwell said the step forward was something to be celebrated, but it would take time for the restaurant to get back on its feet.
"We will see an increase in revenue, average spend in dining is definitely higher than takeaway because we do involve the drink sales so much more regularly than people do with take away," he said.
"But it is small steps at the moment and I wouldn't see our revenue going through the roof anytime soon."
The midnight celebration will be a way "of thanking people for still ordering Grease Monkeys, in their homes, on Deliveroo, picking up takeaway, all the things they did."
"And now they come back and enjoy it like they used to."
Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT and the lockdown is free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: