Shut or serve takeaway: Sydney restaurants' lockdown dilemma

Instead of opening his new Double Bay restaurant Margaret, Neil Perry had to stand down his staff.
Instead of opening his new Double Bay restaurant Margaret, Neil Perry had to stand down his staff. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Here we go again. As the current lockdown kicked in at the weekend, it was familiar territory for Sydney restaurateurs forced to close or pivot.

Every week of lockdown represents $228 million in lost revenue for the hospitality industry across Greater Sydney, according to Restaurant & Catering chief executive Wes Lambert.

The most visible casualty is veteran restaurateur Neil Perry, who was setting up for his first service at Margaret restaurant in Double Bay when the government announced its restrictions. Perry had to stand down staff and repackage produce for staff and Hope Delivery, the community meal program he started last year. 

Many restaurants quickly pivoted to takeaway, with Marrickville's newly opened Valentinas joining the to-go party, along with several Merivale venues, including Mr Wong and Totti's. Sixpenny in Stanmore is reopening its General Store and Saint Peter in Paddington is dusting off its Mr Niland at Home menu.

Lambert says the NSW Government can ease the massive hit to venues through its existing Dine & Discover program. "They have everyone's details," he says. "Topping up would immediately help."