While many eateries are reopening Friday for up to 10 people at a time Wollongong diners will need to wait a little longer for the city's only hatted restaurant to open its doors.
Thomas Chiumento and Simon Evans have decided not to reopen Caveau for dining until the second stage in the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. And they are not alone. Alexander's Restaurant at Coolangatta Estate has no plans to reopen until holiday markers start visiting the region again in sufficient numbers. And Relish on Crown in Shellharbour Village is still making a decision about dine-in.
The Illawarra Mercury is aware that several other prominent eateries have decided to remain closed to dining for the time being
Mr Chiumento said he and Mr Evans will open Night Parrot in lower Crown Street for dine-in from Friday because it made more sense to do it there. But there are several reasons why the time is not right at Caveau.
Mr Chiumento said it was not just about the viability of reopening for only 10 people. After being closed for a month there was a week of planning and at least two days work getting the fine dining restaurant back up and running to the standard he and Mr Evans have set for themselves.
"I think stage two will be more feasible for Caveau," he said.
Mr Chiumento said it was different for a venue such as Night Parrot with a capacity of 50 people to open for such a small number of people than a larger eatery with much greater capacity.
"Every venues line on what is feasible is different," he said.
Mr Chiumento said before the lockdown having social distancing guidelines for spacing every customer and table was more workable for a larger restaurant.
He and Mr Evans know they have many loyal clients who are missing Caveau and when it does reopen they will receive the same standard and service the hatted restaurant is renowned for.
Mr Chiumento said Night Parrot was already up and running and doing takeaways. He said it involved no major planning to open for dine-in. It will however allocate 90 minute seatings for people can book between 4.30pm and 10.30pm to give as many people as possible the opportunity to come out and enjoy a meal.
"During the last 48 hours we have had so many enquiries from people wanting to come in. It is really nice to have that support," he said.
"It shows people are wanting to get out. It would be easy to get caught up in that excitement. But we still need to think about the dangers that are still there. We still need to be safe and take every precaution to follow the guidelines the government has set out".
Across the road from Night Parrot the owners of Moomin and Uncle Bok's said they are planning to get back to business from Friday night and operate similar hours to what they did before COVID-19.
Barbora Sterbova and Arron Choi also want to mark some important occasions they missed recently.
"We have started offering free 'tipsy tapas' for people that had their birthdays during isolation," Ms Sterbova said.
"We feel that people didn't get a chance to celebrate the way they wish they could and we are trying to make up for that. We are offering up to 5 tipsy tapas sessions on Saturday and Sunday to make sure we can offer that deal to as many people as possible".
At the southern end of Keira Street, M2 Kitchen has decided to do alfresco for up to 10 people only at a time from 6.30am to 2pm.
Michael and Martin Papac are placing tables and chairs outside for al fresco dining and will continue to not allow people inside the cafe.
The counter will still be at the door to the cafe for takeaway and delivery.
For alfresco diners all cutlery and straws will be pre packaged and all beverages and food will be served in disposable cups and containers
They are also providing sanitiser near the door and are asking asking everyone to use it when they arrive..
List of eateries we know are open for dine-in from Friday:
- Steamers Restaurant, Wollongong
- M2 Kitchen, Wollongong for al fresco
- Grill'd Wollongong
- Lagoon Seafood Restaurant, North Wollongong
- Bourke St Burgers, North Wollongong
- Moomin, Wollongong
- Uncle Bok's, Wollongong
- Dagwood, Wollongong
- His Boy Elroy, Wollongong
- Silica, Kiama
- Sea Swell Cafe, Windang
- The Deck, Thirroul
- Murphy's Bar and Grill
- Cafe Four
- Ground Cafe
- Ciao Cucina
- Rest Cafe
- Fat Cat Kitchen
- Eddy and Sandra's Cafe
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.