Berejiklian said the move was a “big step” in the state’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new measures, hospitality venues will be required to adhere to strict guidelines to operate:

  • Each patron must have at least four-square-metres of space
  • Bookings can be no larger than 10 people
  • Customers will have to be served at tables and no patrons will be allowed to stand, mingle or dance
  • Shared cutlery and buffets are also banned

Since last Friday, pubs, restaurants and cafes have been able to serve a maximum of 10 patrons at a time in NSW.

But the latest relaxation of restrictions means Australia’s worst-affected state will soon have the nation’s most relaxed social distancing rules, bar the Northern Territory.

The premier will not direct police to count the number of patrons at each venue and said her government is still working with the hospitality industry to “fine-tune” the regulation.

She said any venue found in breach of the limit would be closed down.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the increased cap would be a boon for regional businesses, which were struggling amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The changes to restaurant rules will coincide with the same deadline that regional travel will be eased in NSW.

“We’ve opened up the regions and now it’s our happy hour, time to wine and dine,” Barilaro said.

It comes after NSW recorded its 50th death from coronavirus overnight – a woman in her 80s – bringing the national death toll to 101.