Licensed premises in the Port Macquarie-Hastings will face financial ruin if a coronavirus second wave occurs, according to members of the Hastings Liquor Accord.
Members met with NSW Police liquor licencing staff at Zebu Port Macquarie on July 14 to discuss new coronavirus social distancing measures implemented by the state government.
The new measures reduce group bookings for pubs from 20 people to 10. They also restrict large venues to a maximum capacity of 300 patrons.
Laurieton Hotel licensee Zak Aylward said the new restrictions did not limit the hotel extensively but it is still recovering since reopening in May.
"Our floor space only allows for some 220 people so the new 300 person rule doesn't change our capacity much," he said.
"Obviously the 10 per table and the compliance officer rulings were things we were doing anyway.
"From the start we have played by the rules so we many of these changes don't impact us.
From our point of view that shutdown cannot happen again.Zac Aylward, Laurieton Hotel
"We have been open for a month now but during the COVID shutdown it was pretty tough. From our point of view that shutdown cannot happen again.
"The first hit was hard enough and if there's a second hit it would amplify the effects we have already endured."
Group operations manager of Flower Hotels, Shane Curry said the new changes are warranted.
"We're all in this fight together and if we can make changes that effect a positive outcome we are happy to do that," Mr Curry said.
"It was a very anxious time when we were shutdown earlier this year. It was devastating to a lot of people. I think people are very anxious and worried about it happening again.
"I think there'll be a number of operators who won't reopen (in a second wave). They won't be able to financially withstand a second shutdown.
"The mortgage is still there, the commitments are still there and venues need cash flow to survive."
Mr Curry said many venues will also begin employing a social distancing marshall from within their existing staff to direct patrons more effectively. Venues may also begin using multi-barring systems to ban patrons who repeatedly flout government social distancing laws.
NSW Police sergeant John Lawrie said police are looking for compliance with social distancing from patrons and the liquor industry.
"As mentioned by the NSW premier we are at a very crucial stage and there's been enough education for patrons," he said.
"There have been some problems such as patrons moving furniture to suit themselves in venues or standing when they're supposed to be sitting. Doubling up at gaming machines.
"We ask patrons just to listen to instructions and abide by them.
"For this area the new 300 person limit per venue will not have a huge impact but many establishments are going to add a marshall to help direct social distancing."