NSW will allow pubs and cafes to have up to 50 patrons from June 1.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian made the announcement on Friday afternoon, lifting restrictions from the current maximum of 10.
Ms Berejiklian said the move was about saving jobs and restarting the state’s economy as Australians learned to live with the coronavirus.
“We already know that, for many of these businesses, they won’t be coming back at all,” she said.
“But for those who are viable, for those who have managed to hang on, we’re ensuring that we can work together to provide that safe environment.”
Ms Berejiklian had already announced that bans on regional travel would lift from June 1. Art galleries and museums will also open from then.
The move on pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants comes with strict guidelines – which will be enforced.
Venues will have to allow four square metres per person and cannot take bookings of more than 10. Only table service will be available.
“Even something as simple as having joint cutlery on a table won’t be able to exist anymore. A simple buffet won’t be able to exist anymore,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We know this is a big step. But the regulations and rules we’ll be putting in place will be very strict to make sure safety is paramount. But it is a significant time in the history of our state.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the announcement would allow NSW businesses to make the most of the return of customers.
“We’ve opened up the regions and now it’s our happy hour, time to wine and dine,” he said.
“Today’s announcement will allow regional businesses and economies to embrace, with the opening up of travel, the opportunity for businesses right into the June long weekend to fill their registers.”
The state government will work with NSW restaurants and pubs to produce a full checklist of COVID-19 guidelines by June 1.