Sydney venue closed for COVID breaches

10 September, 2020 by
Madeline Woolway

A Balmain pub will be closed for seven days from 5am Wednesday 8 September after it was found to be in breach of Public Health Orders.

The Unity Hall Hotel initially received a penalty for COVID breaches on 7 August. The venue was then observed hosting two birthday parties and not following COVID-19 Safety Plan requirements when police attended on the following day, 8 August, after a member of the public complained.

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Police issued an on-the-spot fine of $5,000 when they observed what seemed to be a single private function of 32 guests dancing, standing and mingling while consuming alcohol. The matter was then refereed to Liquor & Gaming to consider further action.

Breaches included not enforcing physical distancing, not limiting bookings to 10 people, allowing guests to dance and not remain seated while consuming alcohol. The breaches were confirmed by CCTV footage reviewed by Liquor & Gaming.

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In addition to the week-long closure, the venue has been fined a total of $10,000 by Liquor & Gaming and NSW Police.

Under the Public Health Orders, businesses that commit a second offence will be forced to close for one week, with a third offence resulting in a shutdown for up to one month.

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“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,” said Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres,

“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.

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

A total of 108 fines to NSW hospitality businesses, amounting to $480,000, have been issued by inspectors from Liquor & Gaming, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading.

Thirteen new fines were handed out between 31 August and 7 September:

  • Acacia Modern Japanese Restaurant – Gordon
  • Bare Witness – Rhodes
  • Caffe Jam – East Gosford
  • Chambers Fine Coffee – Rhodes
  • Bondi Bowling Club
  • Juan Bowl & Tea – Redfern
  • La Grillade – Redfern
  • Ningaloo Café Bar – Redfern
  • Nguyen Brothers – Alexandria
  • Rhodes Phoenix Chinese Restaurant
  • The Cockatoo Bar & Restaurant – Gordon
  • The Coffee Club – Rhodes Waterside
  • Went to see the Gypsy – Alexandria

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