The hospitality industry had been crossing its fingers for an earlier reopening, but one crucial factor saw that plan “come a cropper”. New premier Dominic Perrottet had been eager to move NSW’s Freedom Day forward but backed away from the late change because of one crucial reason, according to pub baron Craig Laundy.
The long weekend and its negative impact on vaccination rates were to blame for the hospitality industry not getting the green light to open on Friday, three days ahead of schedule, Mr. Laundy told Today on Wednesday.
There had apparently been inside discussions about the former treasurer announcing an early opening in a press conference on Tuesday, but the plan was derailed due to low vaccination rates.
“The long weekend (and) the good weather forced meager vaccination rates on Sunday and Monday,” Mr. Laundy said, adding that any plan to open early “came a cropper when that came to light yesterday morning”.
“The sad part, of course, is we’ve lost Gladys, which is a tragedy, and her and Neil Harley, her chief of staff, and (Health) Minister (Brad) Hazzard, have been focused on health issues, whereas Dominic Perrottet and his chief of staff had been focused on the reopening strategy with John Barilaro and Minister (Victor) Dominello,” he told the program.
“If there was ever to be a change in premier from one looking after the health implications to one looking after reopening, Dom taking charge is happening at the perfect time.”
Mr. Laundy said he had already consulted with Mr. Perrottet for several months, fine-tuning details for his industry’s reopening.
“I know I’ve been talking to him for the last couple of months, and he’s been very consultative. We can live with what he’s doing; we can make it work and looking forward to making that happen on Monday,” he said.
More than 88 percent of eligible residents aged 16 and older in NSW have received one dose of the Covid vaccine, and more than 67 percent have been fully vaccinated.
Mr. Perrottet is the youngest person to hold the top leadership position in NSW after Liberal MPs voted 39-5 favor the 39-year-old father of six during a meeting at Macquarie St on Tuesday.
His promotion came after Gladys Berejiklian was forced to resign when the corruption watchdog ICAC confirmed investigating her over her secret five-year relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire. Published initially as Long weekend blamed for Premier Dominic Perrottet’s boycott of an earlier Freedom Day.