Pubs and hotels in New South Wales are facing tougher restrictions after a spike in COVID-19 cases connected to venues.

The Crossroads Hotel in Sydney’s Casula has been linked to 28 cases and a number of venues have been fined by authorities for breaching public health orders.

The Golden Sheaf Hotel was hit with a $5500 penalty afters hundreds of patrons lined up outside the venue without social distancing, while The Star received a $5000 fine after groups of patrons were seen drinking, standing and mingling over the weekend.

“The time for warnings has passed and that’s in defence of us as a community,” said NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Scott Cook. “We are all responsible for our own actions here and we need to be serious about this.”

The recent occurrences have led to New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announcing tougher restrictions for hotels and pubs.

Group bookings will now be slashed from 20 to 10 customers at a time and large venues will now be limited to 300 patrons.

Strict cleaning rules also apply and customers need to sign in before they enter a venue.

Authorities have stressed the necessity of obtaining customer and staff contact information, which they must keep for 28 days.

A full-time marshal is required to be on duty at all times for venues with a capacity of more than 250 people to ensure COVID measures are implemented.

“Indoor activity where people aren’t seated is a huge health risk because it increases the chance of transmission,” said Premier Berejiklian. “It was the AHA’s advice to us to reduce bookings from 20 to 10 as it reduces the likelihood of people to mingle. This is a good example of industry taking initiative.”

Image credit: Cross Roads Hotel

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