The Shaws Bay Hotel in Ballina will be shut for a week from 5am today after repeated COVID safety breaches resulted in two $5,000 fines.
NSW Police referred the matter to Liquor & Gaming NSW when they identified 12 breaches of the Public Health Orders, as well as intoxication, across two visits on September 27 and October 4.
The breaches included:
- COVID safety marshal not enforcing the COVID-19 Safety Plan
- group bookings exceeding the 10-person limit
- no physical distancing between queues inside at the bar and outside the venue
- patrons mingling between tables and in queues
- alcohol being consumed while standing
- patrons walking around and dancing
- intoxicated people being served alcohol and mingling with other patrons.
Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres warned against complacency and said the hotel’s ongoing non-compliance with social distancing obligations presented a serious risk to public safety.
“The Shaws Bay Hotel had ample warning to tighten up their game, given they were visited and fined twice,” Mr Argeres said.
“During their visits, police officers observed frequent examples of customers mingling between different groups and tables.
“They also observed an intoxicated patron mingle between six different groups and tables in various areas of the premises and patrons walking about freely mingling in all areas of the hotel while drinking and dancing.
“These scenes do not reflect businesses’ obligations under pandemic conditions so the next step at this point, to ensure public safety, is a seven-day closure.
“It is clear the ongoing operation of the premises could endanger public health, particularly given a potential increase in patronage over the weekend around the Northern Rivers Rugby League grand final.”
The Shaws Bay Hotel will be closed for seven days from 5am Saturday 17 October until 5am Saturday 24 October under the Public Health Act 2010.
It is the third NSW venue to be closed for a week following the closure of Unity Hall Hotel in Rozelle and the Rivers Inn Restaurant in Thredbo last month.
Over the past two weeks, Liquor & Gaming, NSW Fair Trading and SafeWork NSW have conducted 311 hospitality venue inspections and found almost 100 per cent compliance.