According to Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers, cafés, restaurants, pubs, registered clubs, churches, weddings and funerals reopening after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions could face a significant penalty if they don’t properly collect and maintain customer records as required by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No. 3) 2020 (NSW).
The law firm said that in NSW, every person entering:
- a café, restaurant, pub or registered club premises to consume food or drink on the premises or access goods and services on the premises;
- or who attend wedding and funeral services;
- as well as those who attend church
must provide their name and contact details (including email address or phone number) to the operator or occupier of the premises so as to allow for the manual tracking of the potential spread of the coronavirus.
Further, failure to comply with the requirements to provide personal details by an individual can result in serious fines for breaching a direction contained in the order.
Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers associate Dexter Cabal said that while most attention has focused on the number of patrons that reopening businesses can now accommodate, less attention has been made of the accompanying requirements obligating occupiers and operators of premises to record details of the patrons that enter through their doors and the obligation to maintain those records for at least four weeks.
He said the obligations affect thousands of businesses across the state as well as individuals entering relevant premises.
“Section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) creates an offence if an individual fails to comply with a direction contained in the order with a maximum penalty of imprisonment of six months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both), plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues,” Mr Cabal said.
“Corporations that fail to comply are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.”
As well as record-keeping obligations, Mr Cabal said there is an inherent onus on businesses to ensure that the information collected is safeguarded from the risk of misuse and unauthorised disclosure.
“We urge businesses to understand the rules and ensure that they are complying not only with the regulations on social distancing within their business, but also the record-keeping and reporting obligations to the proper authority when requested,” he said.