Tougher restrictions for venues in New South Wales will come into effect at 12.01am on 24 July.

All venues, including restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and clubs will now be required to limit group bookings to a maximum of 10 people; implement COVID-Safe plans and register as a COVID-Safe business; and create a digital record (excel or word) of patron details within 24 hours, including names and phone numbers.

Businesses are expected to ensure all guests provide accurate contact details and are strongly encouraged to promote QR code sign-in.

Other measures include a cap of 300 people in a venue at any one time and having a dedicated COVID Safe Hygiene Marshall in distinctive clothing who must oversee social distancing, cleaning and hygiene at the venue.

“Unfortunately we must live with COVID-19 and the way it has changed our lives,” said Premier Gladys Berejiklian. “These rules will give businesses and the community a degree of certainty into the foreseeable future, and help NSW avoid uncontrolled virus spread.”

The new rules apply across the entire state, including regional and rural areas and will be strictly enforced.

“Venues should be on notice — NSW Police, Liquor & Gaming inspectors and NSW Health officials are carrying out inspections across the state to ensure COVID-Safe plans are being followed,” said Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello.

Breach of orders made under the Public Health Act 2010 is a criminal offence, with businesses facing a penalty of up to $55,000. A further $27,500 penalty may apply for each day the offence continues. On the spot fines of $5000 could also be applied.

Earlier this month, Premier Berejiklian flagged a crack down was looming for the hospitality industry and restrictions were introduced for pubs on 14 July, after a cluster of cases was linked to Casula pub The Crossroads Hotel.  A number of venues have since been forced to close their doors for deep cleaning.

According to the latest government figures, more than 117,500 COVID safety plans have been downloaded in less than a month, but there are only 10,500 registered COVID-safe businesses across NSW.

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