Macarthur restaurant owners are hoping the hospitality industry will be the next to re-open as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

The usually crowded Macarthur Square is largely empty and restaurant owners are anxious about a return to ‘normality’.

Enzo’s Cucina owner  Joseph Maruzza has taken a financial hit during the pandemic. He opened the business two months ahead of the lockdown.

“It has been tough trying to stay afloat during this time. Being limited to takeaways has been difficult, especially trying to work around the costs of paying staff and buying stock after having a 90 per cent decrease in profit,” Mr Maruzza said.

“We have had to get creative and so we have started selling food essentials like rice, flour and pasta to not only help the business but to give people easy access to these items.

“Having only opened in January, this time has severely impacted the business. I know closing the restaurant was an important step in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus, but the re-opening of restaurants cannot come soon enough.”

Maki Moto head chef Andrew Chan is grateful to be employed but is keen to return to a normal working life.

“Although I’m one of the lucky ones, it’s been hard. I’ve had to take a massive pay cut as we are not anywhere near as busy anymore and the business isn’t really coping at all,” he said.

“A lot of changes have had to be made. We don’t need as many staff at the moment so people have had to be temporarily stood down and our business hours have been cut from opening 11am to 5pm.

“There is concern that if we cannot return to dine-in soon that we may not be able to re-open at all.”