PARTYGOERS made the most of Mount Gambier’s re-emerging night life over the weekend, despite having to leave their dance shoes at home.
City revellers returned to Mac’s Hotel on Friday and Saturday for the first time in months with the popular venue overwhelmed by community support.
As per the Australian Hotels Association and State Government guidance, patrons are allowed to stand and drink with their group of friends, adhering to social distancing rules with other venue visitors.
Abiding by the one person per twometre square rule, the entertainment hotspot reached and maintained its 250 patron limit from 10pm onward Saturday night after an unexpectedly busy Friday neared capacity.
Upbeat tunes provided by DJ Caroline Tucker filled the venue’s open spaces, providing a small bar-type atmosphere for the city’s residents.
Hotel assistant manager Jarrad Ballans said the successful weekend came as a surprise after a tough few months for the hospitality industry, despite the hotel’s usually shoulderto-shoulder dance floor remaining off limits.
“Although we had reduced capacity adhering to the one person per two square metre rule, we were flat out,” Mr Ballans said.
“It was definitely great to be able to bounce back that fast and it was probably faster than what we were expecting.
“We were busier than what we were expecting for the first weekend back, but it was good and it was definitely what we wanted to see.”
The Mac’s Hotel was the first Mount Gambier venue to provide a club-like experience since COVID-19 restrictions were enforced over three months ago.
While some restrictions have eased, Mr Ballans said strict protocols were in place.
Opening multiple areas helped maintain social distancing, while hand sanitising stations were provided, along with hygiene measures.
“Everyone seemed excited to come back to the pub for some drinks and food and see everyone again,” Mr Ballans said.
“At the moment, we are really one of the only options people are able to use to get out and socialise and we are happy to be able to help support them with that.
“People adhered to the rules and we did not have any dramas with too many people in the one space.”
Mr Ballans said patrons quickly adapted to the new rules.
“Some people were trying to get a table closer to the DJ and would have a little boogy in their seats instead,” Mr Ballans said.
“It was a bit different, but we made it work and it was more of a small bar type of vibe which we were going for and that is what we got.
“We are unsure when we will have the dance floor open again, but once the government releases its COVID-Safe Plan we will be aiming for approval to get back to normal.
“It has been a hard time for everybody, especially the hospitality industry and I am glad we made it through.
“Customers, staff and everybody have had to change their normal routine to keep things running.”
DJ Caroline Tucker will be playing again at the Mac’s Hotel this weekend with two-for-one cocktail specials running Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.