The Garry Owen Hotel in Rozelle was issued with two fines worth a total of $10,000 for its complete disregard of mandated COVID safety measures.
According to Liquor & Gaming, when inspectors arrived at this Sydney-based pub, there were only three staff in the whole venue despite being packed with patrons.
“The list of breaches grew from there,” said Liquor & Gaming NSW director of compliance Dimitri Argeres.
“In fact, the venue was essentially being operated as though there were no restrictions in place.”
Among a number of breaches, the business wasn’t registered as COVID safe, it didn’t have an up-to-date COVID-19 Safety Plan, and sign-in procedures weren’t enforced.
“The venue was letting down its workers, the community, and all the other businesses trying to do the right thing to keep their doors open,” Mr Argeres siad.
“Hospitality venues cannot disregard these requirements. If we visit again and observe further breaches, at this premises or any others that have already been fined, they may be temporarily shut down.”
To date, the Department of Customer Service has issued 29 fines worth a combined $152,500 to 27 venues.
“We’ve seen how easily and quickly COVID transmission occurs — there are no second chances with this virus. Now is not the time to be facilitating mingling among strangers, let alone allowing patrons to stand on your pub balcony sculling beers,” Mr Argeres said.
Last month, the Restaurant & Catering Association cautioned venues to be more aware of the guidelines in their state around running a COVID-safe business as restaurants in New South Wales emerged as major hotspots.
Speaking to MyBusiness, Restaurant & Catering Association chief executive Wes Lambert said the industry is working very closely with businesses in the industry to ensure they not only understand the COVID guidelines but are following them.
“Each state in Australia has a different COVID-safe plan and COVID-safe requirements. In New South Wales, the government is bringing back some restrictions that start this week for restaurants, cafés, coffee shops that have been in place for hotels since last week,” Mr Lambert said.
“It’s very important that businesses follow those guidelines, which the cornerstone is tracking and tracing, which is the fastest way to track and trace what will be inevitable clusters and outbreaks in a suppression strategy.”