Friday is "Christmas" for the hospitality industry, Otis Dining Hall's executive chef and owner Damian Brabender has declared.
"For chefs, and for anyone in hospitality, it's Christmas Eve today with tomorrow being the big reopening," Mr Brabender said on Thursday.
He said while restaurant doors have been locked and bolted across Canberra, behind them hospitality staff have still been busy on their feet.
"Whilst many people have been at home binge watching Squid Game and whatever else is on at the moment, so many hospitality staff have still been working five days a week, even if it is half days," Mr Brabender said.
"You've got fine-dining chefs that are preparing hamburgers, and they're doing everything they can."
From Friday, licensed venues can welcome 25 patrons inside or 50 people outside, or one person per four square metres. This does not include staff.
Mr Brabender said the eased restrictions was a "massive leap forward" for fine-dining restaurant Otis and the industry more broadly.
"[The eased restrictions] makes a massive difference for businesses," he said.
"With the four square metre rule, we go from 25 customers to almost 40 at any one time. And for us, that means a massive leap forward towards normality."
The restaurant will open Friday and Saturday for 100 people in total.
Pre-lockdown, Mr Brabender said Otis would usually host about 350 patrons per week.
This weekend's guests will enjoy fine dining cuisine in one of four separate sittings across two long tables.
"On each table we have a booking of two or four people with quite a large distance between them," Mr Brabender said.
"Everyone's still connected, everyone's still together, experiencing that elevated level of dining, but still doing it in a COVID safe way."
From Friday, businesses won't need to close if a positive COVID-19 case visits the premises.
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However, close contacts of positive cases will still have to quarantine for 14 days.
Australia's peak hospitality industry body says for their members, staying COVID safe is about more than just abiding by public health orders.
Anthony Brierley, from the ACT branch of the Australian Hotels Association, says a business that pre-orders stock and then is shut down or unable to put on staff because of a COVID-19 outbreak may not survive.
"That means a business simply will not have employees to be able to open."
Some restaurants, like the RUC in Turner, say they are taking an extra step by enforcing vaccines for staff, and asking patrons to consider getting two doses before coming in.
Mr Brabender said almost all of his staff members are fully vaccinated and while he feels "positive and optimistic", he knows the virus could still hurt the industry.
"What happens if somebody comes into the restaurant that has COVID?" he said.
"A lot of other businesses are already feeling more than the pinch. They're feeling the punches and the kicks now."