The NSW hospitality industry is being put on notice with numerous serious breaches of COVID compliance being detected by Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors.
Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres said the developing situation in Victoria is a timely reminder for businesses to remain vigilant as inspectors are still out checking COVID compliance, and that there are no excuses for not requiring patrons to sign-in with the Service NSW QR Code.
“The most recent breaches were detected last week during a COVID compliance blitz on the Central Coast with two venues, Munchas Café at Shelly Beach and BFF Café in Woy Woy, found to be not enforcing patron sign-in using the Service NSW QR code. The BFF Café was also found to have an out-of-date COVID Safety Plan and their physical sign-in register had not been digitised,” Mr Argeres said.
“The courts have also fined three Sydney hospitality businesses a total of $5,400 this month for breaches, sending a strong message to the industry about the importance of COVID compliance.
“This is in addition to restaurants Sushi Hon and Pho Tonkin being fined $5,000 each for COVID non-compliance this month, after a Sydney blitz targeting COVID safety and venues involved in the NSW Government’s Dine & Discover program.
“At this stage of the pandemic, there is simply no excuse for not complying with the check-in requirements. Businesses must be vigilant with their QR code check-in, as this data will be vital in contact tracing if NSW experiences an outbreak like Victoria. Significant penalties, including closure of a venue, apply for non-compliance.
“The majority of clusters in NSW have centred around hospitality venues because of the ease with which the COVID virus can spread in enclosed indoor areas, so it is vital restaurants continue to stay COVID safe.
“There have been some changes and businesses must remain up-to-date. But what has not changed is having robust, digital check in processes that allows for effective contact tracing in the event a positive case has visited the venue.
“Contact tracing is essential in maintaining the health of NSW and helps keeps businesses safe and open. Our inspectors will continue to undertake both uniformed and plain clothes inspections, so if you’re breaking the rules you run a high risk of receiving a hefty fine or a closure in the event of repeat offending,” he said.
Recent court cases relating to breaches of the COVID-19 Public Health Orders include:
On 11 September 2020, L&G Inspectors attended the Ship Inn in Sydney to conduct a COVID-19 compliance check. They found the gaming machines were not spaced 1.5m apart, as required by their COVID-19 Safety Plan. The owner was given a 12-month conditional release order and ordered to pay costs of $3,000.
On 4 November 2020, L&G Inspectors attended the Three Brothers Bakery in Liverpool to conduct a COVID-19 compliance check and found they didn’t have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. The owner was found guilty and fined $400.
On 17 November 2020, L&G Inspectors attended Fujiyama Japanese Cuisine restaurant in Bankstown to conduct COVID-19 compliance check. They were convicted of not having a COVID Safety Plan, not capturing or digitising all patron records, and not having conditions of entry posted, and fined $2,000.
For more information on NSW COVID Safe Check-in and record keeping requirements visit the Service NSW website.