NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed a return to some restrictions on venues and pubs across the state following new COVID-19 clusters that emerged from Sydney venues.
Group bookings will be pushed back again from 20 to 10 people and larger venues must have a capacity of no more than 300 people. As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, restrictions also include stricter requirements for venues to collect contact details of visiting patrons and tougher rules on how the venues are cleaned. The premier also said a marshal will be present at venues to ensure restrictions are followed.
“If your venue has capacity for more than 250 people, there will be a full-time marshal on duty at all times to make sure the COVID-safe plans are being implemented,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“For venues that are less than 250, there will be a COVID-safe person there during the peak times when the venue is operating, and of course, the industry will be mandating taking every single person’s details and where possible I know the industry is making sure it’s done electronically to allow for clarity and legibility and good information.”
As restrictions started easing in NSW this past month, group bookings of 20 people have been permitted and there were no limits placed on the number of people inside the venue so long as the space itself provided for four square metres per person. Now, pubs will be limited to a maximum of 300 people regardless of whether it is large enough to accommodate more.
The announcement follows the news of a cluster of new coronavirus cases that emerged from Casula’s Crossroads Hotel last week and has links to 11 other venues, with those numbers now reaching at least 21 infections. One other case has been linked to Sydney’s Star Casino, after a man who visited the casino on Saturday, 4th July recently tested positive for coronavirus.
Curiously, according to the SMH, the new restrictions relate only to pubs and will not apply to clubs, restaurants or The Star casino, which was fined a total of $5000 for allegedly breaching social distancing restrictions. People have had a lot to say on that. Sydney pub the Golden Sheaf was also hit with a $5000 fine, after a photo circulated of packed groups of people lining up outside the venue, not adhering to social distancing.
“I’m appealing to all licensees, all pubs, to learn from this mistake and see what’s going on in Victoria,” Police Minister David Elliott said on Monday. “If they are under any illusion – under any illusion whatsoever – that we are through this in NSW, they are sadly mistaken.
“We don’t want to see the hospitality industry close down again and go into lockdown again, because it may not survive.”