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Sydney hotel becomes first venue to be shut down for flouting COVID regulations

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
09 September 2020 1 minute readShare
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A Sydney-based hotel is the first venue in NSW to be formally closed for seven days for multiple breaches of COVID-19 Safety Plan requirements.

The Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain has been slapped with a $10,000 fine and will not be permitted to open for the next seven days, after being found to have hosted two birthday parties in breach of Public Health Orders.

According to Liquor and Gaming director of compliance Dimitri Argeres, under the Public Health Orders, inspectors can temporarily close venues for second and third offences.

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“The venue was fined $5,000 after our inspection on 5 August, where inspectors identified an out-of-date COVID-19 Safety Plan, inadequate sign-in processes relating to not recording times of entry and digitising records, and a lack of physical distancing between chairs and tables,” Mr Argeres said.

Inspectors first visited the hotel last month and issued a penalty notice on 7 August, before returning the next day in response to a complaint from a member of the public.

 

When they arrived, police observed what appeared to be one private function of 32 guests who were dancing, standing and mingling while consuming alcohol.

Police fined the venue $5,000 for multiple breaches including breaches of physical distancing, 10-person limits on bookings, dancing, and staying seated while consuming alcohol.

“This is the risk posed by not following the Public Health Orders and not adequately implementing COVID-safe practices. People in large groups who are known to each other are far more likely to mingle — including by dancing — and this increases the risk of transmission,” they said.

“Each person brings with them a history of interaction with others in the community which means the more people in a group, the more close contacts they are sharing across that group.

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“To repeatedly not comply with the Public Health Orders poses a clear and significant risk to public health.”

Inspectors from Liquor and Gaming, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading have issued a total of 108 fines to NSW hospitality businesses, amounting to $480,000.

Thirteen new fines were handed out between 31 August 31 and 7 September, including to Acacia Modern Japanese Restaurant in Gordon, Bare Witness in Rhodes, Caffe Jam in East Gosford, Chambers Fine Coffee in Rhodes, Juan Bowl & Tea in Redfern, La Grillade in Redfern, Ningaloo Café Bar in Redfern, Nguyen Brothers in Alexandria, Rhodes Phoenix Chinese Restaurant, The Cockatoo Bar & Restaurant in Gordon, The Coffee Club at Rhodes Waterside, and Went to See the Gypsy in Alexandria.

Sydney hotel becomes first venue to be shut down for flouting COVID regulations
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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