Sydney’s oldest pub opened one hour early on Monday to welcome back its regulars after the city emerged from a more than 100-day lockdown, allowing Covid-19 vaccinated locals to enjoy new freedoms including a morning beer at their favourite bar.
A handful of customers filled up one side of the bar at the Fortune of War, soon after doors opened at 09:00am.
“It’s the Aussie way. You know, come to the pub, have a beer, have a bit of a yarn. They talk to staff, they talk to each other,” said publican Steven Speed, gesturing towards the customers perched on bar stools.
Speed added that no one can remember when the Fortune of War was last forced to close for an extended period, although he said it was likely during the Spanish Flu pandemic a century ago.
With the vaccine rollout gaining momentum, Australia is planning a staggered return to normal even as its biggest cities grapple with an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant.
New South Wales state eased lockdown rules on Monday after hitting its 70% target of full vaccination for its adult population. Further restrictions will lift when the state hits the 80% and 90% levels, including the return of international travel.