The Garry Owen Hotel in Rozelle, Sydney, has been labelled the "worst pub seen so far" by NSW authorities and hit with $10,000 in fines for breaches of COVID-19 restrictions.
As alleged by Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres, when inspectors arrived at the Garry Owen Hotel there were only three staff in the whole venue despite being "packed" with patrons.
"The list of breaches grew from there," says Argeres.
"In fact the venue was essentially being operated as though there were no restrictions in place," Mr Argeres said.
Inspectors further allege that:
- The business wasn't registered as COVID safe.
- It didn't have an up to date COVID-19 Safety Plan.
- Sign in procedures weren't enforced.
- Inspectors observed a lack of hygiene processes.
- Customers were standing and mingling while drinking.
- Physical distancing was not 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," says Argeres.
"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.
"Now is not the time to be facilitating mingling among strangers, let alone allowing patrons to stand on your pub balcony sculling beers."
This week Liquor & Gaming has issued six more fines, SafeWork NSW one, and NSW Fair Trading one, bringing the total number of fines issued by the Department of Customer Service to 29, venues to 27, and the dollar amount to $152,500.
These eight venues were fined this week for breaches related to not having a COVID-19 Safety Plan; non-compliant record keeping; improper hygiene; and a lack of appropriate physical distancing, including in gaming rooms:
- Garry Owen Hotel Rozelle
- Riverview Hotel Balmain
- Dry Dock Hotel Balmain
- Padstow Park Hotel Padstow
- Padstow Bowling Club Padstow
- Marrickville Ritz - Marrickville
- Royal Hotel Randwick
- Yai Thai Gosford
"If you want to continue operating, if you care about the health of your community, then take responsibility for safety in your space," Argeres said.
"This goes for customers too. If you visit a business, follow its rules. If it doesn't look like it has adequate COVID safety measures in place, avoid it."
The news comes as Australia suffers through the deadliest day during the pandemic so far, with Victoria reporting 21 deaths from COVID-19.
There have also been 428 new cases of COVID-19 detected today in Australia, including 18 in NSW and 410 in VIC.
Public health alerts issued in Sydney, returning residents have quaranteine fee waived
NSW Health has issued a range of new public health alerts today, including for an Ikea store, two shopping centres, and a Baby Bunting store.
Because of NSW Health's concern about community transmission the authority has asked anyone who attended the following venues during the dates and times below to monitor for symptoms, and if symptoms present, however mild, isolate and get tested:
- Rhodes Ikea on 8 August, between 1:20pm -2:20pm
- Parramatta Westfield on 5 August between 4pm-5:30pm and 8 August between 12pm 1pm
- Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club from 5pm on 7 August to 1:30am on 8 August
- Castle Towers Shopping Centre on 7 August between 3:30pm 5pm
- Baby Bunting, Penrith on Saturday 8 August between 1.15pm - 1.45pm
In addition, the NSW government has decided to waive the hotel quarantine fee for NSW residents returning from Victoria to ease the financial buden on returnees.
The charge will be waived retrospectively and apply to NSW residents already in hotel quarantine after travelling from Victoria.
Updated at 3:26pm AEST on 12 August 2020.
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