The allowance of eight-ball and darts to return to Tasmanian venues has saved one Launceston institution from the brink of closure.
The Launceston Workers Club will reopen its doors after only being limited hours on Friday nights.
Given the business’s primary trade was through its pool tables, Workers Club President Peter Wallace said the announcement was huge.
“Unlike pubs where people mainly go to drink, we rely on people playing eight-ball and snooker; they don’t come just to drink,” Mr Wallace said.
“We’ve been restricted to opening just on Fridays which has been used by the older members.
“It’s a big thing for us, we were looking down the barrel if we didn’t get started again soon.”
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The activities were prohibited by the Department of Public Health – director Mark Veitch said it was due to pool tables and dart boards being areas of congregation at a venue.
Dancing in bars and clubs will still be prohibited, with patrons still required to be seated when drinking.
Mr Wallace said he and Mr Gutwein had discussed the dire straits the pool-ban had put the club in, but understood the Premier’s reasoning for following Public Health advice.
“I understand it, he understands our situation where we’re not a crowded bar with an eight-ball table, we have a large expansive area with quite a few tables they can play on,” Mr Wallace said.
“We shouldn’t have been painted with the same brush as the pubs.”
The Launceston Workers Club has operated in Launceston since 1863, Mr Wallace said the thought that COVID-19 would be the end of the club was pretty bad.
“If it [restrictions] had of gone on … we had applied for every grant we could and ran of those – the bank balance is virtually nil,” he said.
“Even though we haven’t been open it still costs money to be sitting there and doing nothing.
“If it wasn’t for our volunteers that work on the times that we were open, we would’ve been in trouble.”
We’ll get three or four calls from people every week who want to come down and play eight-ball and they can’t. You could go to Bunnings and line up but you couldn’t play eight-ball, just crazy stuff.
Mr Wallace said many an avid snooker, eight-ball and darts player had contacted him elated by the news they could play once more.
He said the business would reopen regular hours in the coming weeks.
For Invermay’s Park Hotel, the announcement has little immediate effect.
Owner Gary Whitney said most eight-ball and dart teams had already cancelled any upcoming competitions.
“But once they [teams] have organised everything, we’ll have darts a couple of nights a week and eight-ball one night,” he said.
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Mr Whitney said the announcement would assist weekday traffic as the activities attracted punters on those quieter nights.
“We’ve gotten three or four calls from people every week who want to come down and play eight-ball and they can’t,” Mr Whitney said.
“You could go to Bunnings and line up but you couldn’t play eight-ball, just crazy stuff.”
Commercial Hotel owner Garry Laskey said the announcement was a welcomed one by the pub, and that many patrons had enquired about using the venue’s pool tables since it reopened.