Quirky bar set to reopen after months shuttered
AFTER three "devastating" months without trade, the manager of a unique bar in Mackay's CBD says they are ready to open the doors and get back to work.
Empire Alternacade was forced to close its doors when the Queensland Government imposed strict regulations to flatten the coronavirus curve in late March.
The venue will reopen to eager punters this Friday when Queensland's stage three restrictions come into play.
Manager Katie Sawtell said the venue planned to reopen on July 10 but this was brought forward when the Premier announced restrictions would be scaled back sooner.
Ms Sawtell said shuttering the bar had a big impact on the business and its staff.
"None of our staff have had jobs and we've had no income," she said.
"We were not allowed to operate, we had to close down as part of government regulation.
"It has been a struggle; you don't know how long you're going to be closed for, you still have overheads to pay and you have to find the money somewhere."
Although the venue could have opened at the start of June when stage two was introduced, Ms Sawtell said the restrictions meant it was not viable to open at all.
"It was not worth our while," she said.
"You can't have 20 people and five staff, it is not feasible."
The new rules allow one person per 2sq m at small venues and one patron per 4sq m at large venues and removes the 100 person per venue cap that applied to large venues.
An ongoing review of these state-based restrictions, including the density requirements, will be undertaken by the Queensland Government as it monitors levels of community transmission.
Getting back to business means stability for Empires 10 staff who were stood down from the venue in March Ms Sawtell said.
"All our staff that we had previously, the ones on Jobkeeper and the ones who weren't eligible are coming back," she said.
Ms Sawtell said there were plans to expand the venue and develop an open-air beer garden outside in coming weeks. .
Empire Alternacade will open again from Friday July 3.
Friday July 3 from 6pm until late
Saturday July 4 from 7pm until late