- Title: Locals "crushed" as Australia closes all pubs and bars due to coronavirus
- Date: 23rd March 2020
- Summary: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (MARCH 23, 2020) (REUTERS) PERSON WEARING MASK WALKING PAST THE FRONT OF FORTUNE OF WAR PUB VARIOUS SIGNS FOR FORTUNE OF WAR PUB STAFF WORKING BEHIND BAR PUB PATRONS SITTING AT BAR BEERS ON COUNTER FORTUNE OF WAR REGULAR FOR 39 YEARS, SAMO VOJSK, DRINKING BEER (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORTUNE OF WAR REGULAR FOR 39 YEARS, SAMO VOJSK, SAYING: "I'm devastated, as are all the other regulars. This is our local, our meeting spot and we're crushed, we really are." (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORTUNE OF WAR REGULAR FOR 4 YEARS DOUG THOMAS, SAYING: "The reality really hit early this morning so I've thought there's only one place to come and it's the Fortune of War for a midday last swill or whatever. It was a bit of a shock and very sad at the same time. Like it's a traditional thing for Aussies to have a quiet drink after work." BEER TAPS PUB STAFF PACKING DRINKS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORTUNE OF WAR REGULAR FOR 39 YEARS, SAMO VOJSK, SAYING: "Well I work nights, so I have to fill in my days somehow. Go to the library, go on walks, try to get something to eat somewhere, cause a lot of places are shut. Yeah it's going to be difficult. Everyone is going to adjust everywhere." THOMAS AT BAR VOJSK AND THOMAS AT BAR BEER ON COUNTER SIGN OUTSIDE PUB READING (English) 'SO LONG BUT NOT FAREWELL' THOMAS LEAVING PUB SIGN READING 'FORTUNE OF WAR' WITH SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE IN BACKGROUND VOJSK LEAVING PUB / PUB WORKER PICKING UP SIGN, TAKING SIGN INSIDE AND SHUTTING DOOR EXTERIOR OF PUB VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING PAST EMPTY RESTAURANT AT CIRCULAR QUAY (SOUNDBITE) (English) RETIRED SYDNEY RESIDENT, FRED, SAYING: "It's sad to see all the busy restaurants quiet, but I was around just visiting my usual coffee shops to see how they were going. So I've had three coffees this morning instead of my usual one, just giving a bit of business. But it's not clear that they can all - they are on a skeleton stuff - but I don't see how they can all keep going for very long at this rate." VARIOUS OF UNUSED TABLES AND CHAIRS AT RESTAURANT CLOSED SIGN BEHIND RESTAURANT WINDOW STAFF COVERING UP DINING APPARATUS TABLES, UMBRELLA AND CHAIRS STACKED UP (SOUNDBITE) (English) RETIRED SYDNEY RESIDENT, FRED, SAYING: "I'm retired - self funded retiree - so there's things to worry about, but there's no point worrying. I mean this will pass in a years time it will probably be over. Two years it'll be over. There's going to be new opportunities I think." BAR AND RESTAURANT NEAR SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE EMPTY UMBRELLA READING (English) 'OPERA BAR' UNUSED BAR COUNTER EMPTY BAR SPACE FERRY COMING INTO CIRCULAR QUAY EMPTY RESTAURANT ON EDGE OF HARBOUR VARIOUS OF ST. MARY'S CATHEDRAL SIGN READING (English) 'PEACE TO YOU. WE APOLOGISE THE CATHEDRAL IS CLOSED' CATHEDRAL DOORS SHUT
- Keywords: Australia COVID-19 Sydney circular quay coronavirus pubs social distancing sydney opera house
- Reuters ID: LVA001C69TFEV
- Location: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
- City: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
- Country: Australia
- Duration: 00:04:50
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: For 39 years Samo Vojsk has regularly sampled a wide range of beers several times a week at Sydney's "oldest pub" -- Fortune of War.
But on Monday morning (March 23) he was particular about savouring every last sip, before the Australian government shut all pubs amongst other venues to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.
"I'm devastated, as are all the other regulars. This is our local, our meeting spot and we're crushed, we really are," Vojsk told Reuters.
Located in the historic Rocks precinct, the Fortune of War prides itself as being Sydney's oldest pub and the locals cannot remember a time when their haunt has been forced to shut in their lifetimes.
"The reality really hit early this morning so I've thought there's only one place to come and it's the Fortune of War for a midday last swill," Vojsk's drinking mate Doug Thomas said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new measures were needed to enforce social distancing, and more draconian measures could be enacted down the line. Many non-essential services besides pubs - clubs, cinemas, gyms and houses of worship - were closed on Monday.
After reporting only a gradual spread in January, the number of COVID-19 cases in Australia now appears to be tracking much sharper increases seen elsewhere, with the most populous states of New South Wales and Victoria recording the fastest rises. By Monday the cases had exceeded 1600.
Despite warnings to practice social distancing, thousands flocked to Sydney's Bondi Beach and frequented bars and restaurants over the weekend.
(Production: James Redmayne)
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