Sydney circus bar set for encore after months of lockdown

Staff talk to trainees at the reception desk inside Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria, Australia

A circus-themed bar in Sydney is readying to open on Monday for the first time in four months, with new staff going through their paces and arcade machines serviced, polished and primed.

Featuring luminescent bumper cars, ten-pin bowling and neon flashing classic arcade and virtual reality games, Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq has been shut since Sydney locked down on June 26.

Assistant Venue Manager Georgia Vaughan found the lockdown extremely tough, as she spent several months stuck at home not knowing when it would be possible to return to her job. But all that is behind her now, she hopes.

“Coming in for the first time and turning all the machines on, it definitely made it feel real,” Vaughan told Reuters from inside the venue in the inner Sydney suburb of Alexandria.

“When you turn the lights off in the circus, it’s obviously when we’re closing up, so turning them on for the first time after four months, it was a great feeling.”

Sydney emerged from over 100 days of lockdown on Oct. 11, and Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq which also houses a restaurant and bar, is allowed to reopen on Nov. 1 under hospitality guidelines.

Despite labour shortages across the city, Archie Brothers was able to recruit when it was closed. This week, managers showed the trainees around their new big-top playground, Vaughan said. Technicians were also on hand to prepare the arcade machines for the relaunch.

“We’ve just been having all of our team members come in, in separate groups, to start retraining for the opening of the venue,” Vaughan said.

“Just making sure everyone has got that refresher training, so that once we open on Monday, we’re ready to go.”

Australia has been gradually easing tough restrictions in Sydney, aided by higher vaccination levels after a third wave of infections fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant spread rapidly across its southeast.

Despite the Delta wave, national coronavirus numbers are still relatively low by global standards, with about 166,000 cases and 1,694 deaths.

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