THE reintroduction of seated-only alcohol consumption in South Australian licensed venues has not disrupted trade along Coonawarra’s revered wine strip with businesses and customers alike adapting to the state COVID-19 direction.
In-home gatherings are now restricted to 10 people – down from 50 – with Premier Steven Marshall reaffirming the state’s transition committee was currently reviewing restrictions, flagging density requirements, the fitness sector and aged care facilities as areas under scrutiny.
The Limestone Coast reached a significant milestone in testing over the weekend by surpassing 10,000 COVID-19 tests with no cases confirmed in the region since March.
Speaking on the recently reintroduced restrictions, Wynn’s Coonawarra Estate venue manager Tony Gleeson (pictured right) said the measures were comfortably managed and had been adhered to by customers.
“It does make the experience a little bit more extended than it was at the counter but that is the only real change,” Mr Gleeson said.
“Now our staff need to wait on customers as they would if you were in a restaurant meaning we go to the customer who is seated, pour the wine and discuss it,” Mr Gleeson said.
He said cellar door visitors had responded positively to the changes and were understanding of the restrictions.
“We have had people who simply forget about the new rules and are wanting to get up all the time but once we remind them they are happy to comply which is great,” Mr Gleeson said.
“We are finding that customers are engaging with us more and feel more relaxed about the whole experience and whether being seated translates better with them we are not sure yet.”
Mr Marshall has stated no new restrictions would be imposed as of yet and emphasised the transition committee was constantly looking at the level of restrictions in place across the state to ensure they are commensurate with the current COVID-19 risk.
“We know that it is a worrying risk directly across the border,” Mr Marshall said.
“The transition committee is looking at issues like density, home gatherings, churches, the fitness sector, borders and our aged care facilities.”
Mr Marshall also praised South Australians for continuing to get tested when symptoms present themselves.
“We are very, very impressed with the way people are going to have their COVID-19 test when they have symptoms,” he said.
“We are also delighted with the compliance checks which are being done on people who are required to be in isolation.”
Warrawindi beef and sheep farmer David Galpin – who regularly travels across the border on Casterton Road to attend property in Victoria – said testing requirement for cross-border community members remained a sticking point due to travel and time factors.
Cross-border essential travellers must undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test every seven days to allow travel between South Australia and Victoria, a requirement Mr Galpin said was a worthwhile inconvenience for the betterment of the state.
“The test every seven days is the main complication we have with the new restrictions because it means we all need to travel to Naracoorte or Mount Gambier once a week,” Mr Galpin said.
“We would not have any issues with this if there were a testing station closer to home because there are so many of us that now have to take one day a week to go and travel for these new requirements.
“We know we have to do it and that it is a part of the lockdown but because of the time taken to travel and wait in line for the test we will have to reevaluate how often we travel to our Victorian properties.”
COVID-19 testing is not currently available in the Penola district with a SA Pathology spokesperson stating the organisation constantly reviewed and adapted its COVID-19 testing services to respond and manage demand.
“A number of considerations must be made when deciding on locations for testing clinics including staffing, logistics and overall demand,” they said.
“SA Pathology rapidly established mobile testing clinics to be used solely for testing of people crossing the Victoria border and we anticipate further vans to be added to the cohort in the near future.”