NSW Liquor and Gaming have been out visiting venues over the last month and are still finding several venues that are not complying with current COVIDSafe restrictions. Significant fines have already been handed out right across the state for various breaches with venues in Tamworth, Tuncurry, Bondi, Ryde, Auburn, Wollongong, Randwick, Darlinghurst, Gosford, Erina, Casino, Merrylands, Yagoona, Hurlstone Park, Kingswood, Marrickville, Balmain, Padstow, and Maitland already suffering financial penalties

The fact that two venues, an inner west pub in Sydney and a restaurant in Gosford have been issued with a second round of fines has prompted Liquor and Gaming to advise that the next step will be temporary closures.

It is important for venues to note the most common breach notices have been handed out for:

  • not being registered as a COVIDSafe venue
  • no up to date COVID Safety plan
  • missing and illegible contact details on a paper register
  • not enforcing physical distancing
  • not keeping records of staff and contractors coming and going
  • not digitising a paper-based register within 24 hours.
  • failing to detail the time of entry for each patron
  • not telling patrons to remain seated
  • having too many customers and not enough staff to manage the COVIDSafe requirements
  • a lack of hygiene processes
  • gaming machines not spaced apart

In NSW the restrictions demand venues adhere to regulations including:

  • implementing a COVID Safety plan and keeping it up to date
  • registering as a COVIDSafe business
  • creating a digital record of customer details within 24 hours
  • having a dedicated COVID-safe hygiene marshal on duty at all times
  • 300-person limit for large venues
  • limiting bookings to 10

To ensure venues are enforcing restrictions in their venues both uniformed and undercover officers from Liquor & Gaming NSW, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading staff are all conducting inspections, adding to their ability to ensure compliance

Following the second round of fines and serious breaches at one Sydney venue, Dimitri Argeres, the director of Liquor and Gaming said. “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,”

“If you want to continue operating, if you care about the health of your community, then take responsibility for safety in your space,” Mr Argeres said.

“Pubs, clubs, bars, casinos, cafes and restaurants are high risk for COVID transmission. They are subject to public health order conditions specifically designed to keep them open and keep our communities safe.

“The time for warnings is now long gone. Venues caught doing the wrong thing can expect to be fined for the first breach and shut down for second and subsequent breaches.”

Sources: 

https://www.miragenews.com/pub-and-popular-chain-cafe-each-fined-5-000-for-covid-breaches/

https://www.9news.com.au/national/nsw-coronavirus-new-cases-sydney-bars-fined-for-breaching-social-distancing-restrictions-bondi-balmain/e86f3ca4-ec26-4218-8896-a26dc7a30ef

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-12/coronavirus-garry-owen-hotel-rozelle-fined-for-covid-breaches/12550850

https://www.hospitalitymagazine.com.au/venues-fined-for-breaching-covid-rules/