Encouraging developments around the COVID-19 situation has the Australian Hoteliers Association [AHA] of NSW optimistic a return to normality is visible on the horizon.
NSW has now gone 43 days straight without a locally acquired COVID case, while Bathurst has gone over 10 months virus-free.
AHA NSW director of liquor and policing John Green said the trajectory has instilled plenty of pubs and hotels with confidence.
"We've certainly turned a corner, and with vaccines starting to be rolled out, there's definitely some light at the end of the tunnel," Mr Green said.
"The COVID restrictions in place currently allow one person per two square metres at hospitality venues, and people can stand and drink outside, but not inside, so there's been progress from mid-last year."
Last week, the state government announced patrons would be allowed to stand and drink indoors by March 17 if no unexpected outbreaks occur.
Mr Green said NSW pubs and hotels have performed admirably to operate under COVID-safe plans to ensure staff and patron safety.
"Local pubs are well-versed to COVID restrictions, as they are only an extension to the strict regulations they are already operating under," he said.
"Pubs are some of the most highly regulated businesses out there in terms of intoxication, proof of age checks etc., so it's only natural they've been at the forefront in adhering to COVID-safe protocol."
"The ease of compliance has only been assisted by the introduction of the Service NSW QR code sign-in, as it has made life easier for staff and patrons alike."
Mr Green acknowledged the QR code sign in method will remain in place for some time, and will serve as part of a 'new normal' for venues in NSW coming out of COVID.
"Venues have grown more conscious of cleanliness and sanitisation, and social distancing will continue to be observed, so there's no doubt it has changed the way we operate," he said.
Mr Green said it's vital for members of the Bathurst community to keep up the support for local venues in order to keep people in jobs and stimulate the economy.
"The Dine and Discover scheme starts this month, giving residents over 18 the opportunity to apply for $100 worth of vouchers to be used at venues, so now's a better time than ever," he said.
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