WATCH: Fitting farewell for Clarence pub
FITZROY Street was filled with the sweet sound of bagpipes at noon on Monday as Grafton Hotel closed its doors for up to six months.
Steve Smith got a call from his wife late last night following Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement that several businesses including licenced pubs and clubs would close in a bid to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Grafton Hotel regular and piper Peter Lougher marked the occasion with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne on Fitzroy St at 12 o'clock, surrounded by staff and regular patrons.
Mr Smith said the measures, which could be in place for as long as six-months but will be reviewed monthly, were a "kick in the guts" for many people who would no doubt feel the long-term impacts of the closure.
"We've done all we can with sanitisers and things like that, reduced our seating and trying to keep social distancing which is really hard," he said.
"We've had to police it for the last few days and last week, because if we didn't and the police come through, we get fined, and a really hefty fine at that too."
Mr Smith was unsure of the future of staff but said some would be able to access support announced over the weekend.
"I find it a bit devastating, they could've given us a bit more time."