New South Wales residents are now allowed to stand with their drinks in bars, following the latest easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
“This is what life is all about,” the New South Wales treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, said while holding a Guinness on Wednesday.
Coinciding with St Patrick’s Day, revellers across Sydney made the most of their newfound freedom, with Perrottet marking the occasion by ordering a drink to be consumed while standing up at the Mercantile Hotel.
“Today is a great day because it shows we are returning back to normal,” he said.
However, many felt odd about being the first patrons to stand up again, after customers became accustomed to having to sit with their drinks in recent months.
At the Trinity pub in Surry Hills, Bec Corbett was excited to be able to stand with her colleague, Liam Webster, and drink.
“It totally changes the vibe of being out,” Corbett said on Wednesday, noting it felt much more social to be standing.
“I’m still half expecting a security guard to come and tell me to sit down. I was at a wedding recently, and having to sit was a total mood killer. This makes such a big difference.”
NSW residents will still have to wait for the eased “vertical drinking” rules to be extended to weddings too, however.
“Sitting has just become a force of habit now, so this feels a bit weird,” Webster told the Guardian while standing.
Patrons were excited to exercise their new freedom but some questioned how much they could move while standing before it would be considered dancing – something not yet allowed.
“It’s a very fine line between standing and dancing,” Joe McCabe said, wondering what would happen as the St Patrick’s Day crowd continued drinking.
“Does moving my shoulders count as dancing?” his colleague Andrew Mann said.
Carpenters Andy Kypridakis and John Clarke were working on Wednesday but popped in to the Trinity for a Guinness after their lunch to make the most of their ability to drink it standing up.
“We’re going to drink these standing up, just for the sake of it,” Kypridakis said.
Publican Brian O’Keefe was excited to see his patrons able to stand but noted the easing of the law did not extend to boosting capacity – and he was concerned about the risk of standing turning into dancing too.
At the Porterhouse pub, brothers Matt and Danny Carroll were the first to stand up.
“It’s not been great getting told to sit back down any time you’d stand up in a pub over the past few months,” Danny said.
“Everyone’s still sitting down, I don’t think anyone else realises yet,” Matt said.
With Australian Associated Press