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Popular bar reveals why it has placed cardboard cutouts from diners around the dining area

For those concerned about dining in empty restaurants limited to 10 people, one location has come up with an original solution.

Five Dock Dining, in west Sydney, has placed life-size cardboard cutouts of real people at tables to make the restaurant look fuller.

The popular Italian also plays taped background noise to simulate ‘chatter’ from guests.

The unusual move is to make customers feel more comfortable in what could otherwise be an empty restaurant.

Restaurants and cafes in New South Wales are preparing to reopen on Friday as COVID-19 social distance measures continue to decline.

However, the hotel’s restaurants and dining areas are allowed to seat only 10 guests at a time with a minimum of four square feet of space per person.

Five Dock Dining, in west Sydney, has placed life-size cardboard cutouts of real people at tables to make the restaurant look fuller

Five Dock Dining, in west Sydney, has placed life-size cardboard cutouts of real people at tables to make the restaurant look fuller

Restaurant owner Frank Angeletta founded cardboard customers to fill the empty space

Restaurant owner Frank Angeletta founded cardboard customers to fill the empty space

Restaurant owner Frank Angeletta founded cardboard customers to fill the empty space

Restaurants and cafes in New South Wales are preparing to reopen on Friday as COVID-19 social distance measures continue to decline

Restaurants and cafes in New South Wales are preparing to reopen on Friday as COVID-19 social distance measures continue to decline

Restaurants and cafes in New South Wales are preparing to reopen on Friday as COVID-19 social distance measures continue to decline

Owner Frank Angeletta introduced the 2D dinners to give his real customers a more ‘normal dining experience’.

Up to 10 customers can go to pubs on Fridays as long as they order food. Bar areas and gaming facilities remain closed.

It comes after an eight-week shutdown to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus, closing pubs, bars and restaurants.

State Treasurer Dominic Perrottet confirmed on Wednesday that pubs and clubs are joining cafes and restaurants for dinner from Friday as part of the state government’s commitment to stimulate the economy.

The NSW’s announcement came after the cabinet recommended that pubs and clubs be excluded.

Owner Frank Angeletta (pictured) brought in the unusual tactic of giving his customers a more 'normal dining experience'

Owner Frank Angeletta (pictured) brought in the unusual tactic of giving his customers a more 'normal dining experience'

Owner Frank Angeletta (pictured) brought in the unusual tactic of giving his customers a more ‘normal dining experience’

The hotel's restaurants and dining areas are allowed to seat only 10 guests at a time and for at least four square meters of space per person.

The hotel's restaurants and dining areas are allowed to seat only 10 guests at a time and for at least four square meters of space per person.

The hotel’s restaurants and dining areas are allowed to seat only 10 guests at a time and for at least four square meters of space per person.

Australian Hotels Association NSW director, NSW, John Green, told AAP that since the cabinet’s decision, the top body has advocated a level playing field for all locations.

“We see this as a positive move and a common sense decision, as it provides a level playing field for all cafes and restaurants so they can open if they want to,” he said Thursday.

Mr. Green argued that it may not be financially viable for all companies to open at this time, but it gave them time to order products and beverages in the coming weeks.

Regional sites were more open to the opportunity, not for financial reasons, but to support their communities, he added.

“We are confident that we can operate our sites in ways that are social distance, minimize coronavirus transmission, and satisfy government so they can ease restrictions.”

ClubsNSW welcomed the state’s decision on pubs and clubs, but said the remaining restrictions for many locations would be “cost prohibition.”

“However, it is the first positive step towards an eventual return to normal trade,” a spokesman said in a statement Thursday.

Martin Short of W Short Hospitality Group told AAP that he would not reopen any of his nine locations in NSW due to concerns for his staff and the wider community.

“I’m not sure it’s feasible at this stage,” he said.

“I wish we could be with others this week, but I have to make sure that health and safety are covered, so we are going to be careful at this stage.”

NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Thursday that she understood it would not be feasible to open much larger locations on Friday.

Only 10 people are allowed per location ‘even if there are several rooms or multiple facilities’.

“We can’t really go any further at this stage because there’s a lot of activity going on right now – we need to make sure we’re collecting good data on what that extra activity level means.”

NSW reported four additional cases of 9,700 tests on Thursday, bringing the total to 3,063. Eight people in intensive care.

Werrington Public School near Penrith has been closed for cleaning and contact tracing after a teacher found positive for coronavirus.

An 81-year-old woman traveling on the coronavirus-plagued Ruby Princess cruise ship died earlier this week, bringing the NSW toll to 47 and the national toll to 98.

Drive-through and walk-in COVID-19 testing has begun at Lakemba Mosque in south-west Sydney organized by the Lebanese Muslim Association of Sydney and NSW Health.

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