The Garry Owen Hotel in Rozelle was this week singled out by Liquor & Gaming inspectors as ‘the worst pub seen so far’ for a litany of COVID safety breaches.
The pub was issued with two fines worth a total of $10,000 for its complete disregard of mandated COVID safety measures.
Liquor & Gaming has issued six more fines, SafeWork NSW one, and NSW Fair Trading one, bringing the total number of fines issued by the Department of Customer Service to 29, venues to 27, and the dollar amount to $152,500.
Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance, Dimitri Argeres, said when inspectors arrived at the Garry Owen Hotel there were only three staff in the whole venue despite being packed with patrons.
“The list of breaches grew from there. In fact the venue was essentially being operated as though there were no restrictions in place,” Mr Argeres said.
· The business wasn’t registered as COVID safe.
· It didn’t have an up to date COVID-19 Safety Plan.
· Sign in procedures weren’t enforced.
· Inspectors observed a lack of hygiene processes.
· Customers were standing and mingling while drinking.
· Physical distancing was not enforced.
“The venue was letting down its workers, the community, and all the other businesses trying to do the right thing to keep their doors open.
“Hospitality venues cannot disregard these requirements. If we visit again and observe further breaches, at this premises or any others that have already been fined, they may be temporarily shut down.
“We’ve seen how easily and quickly COVID transmission occurs – there are no second chances with this virus.
“Now is not the time to be facilitating mingling among strangers, let alone allowing patrons to stand on your pub balcony sculling beers.”
These eight venues were fined this week for breaches related to not having a COVID-19 Safety Plan; non-compliant record keeping; improper hygiene; and a lack of appropriate physical distancing, including in gaming rooms:
- Garry Owen Hotel – Rozelle
- Riverview Hotel – Balmain
- Dry Dock Hotel – Balmain
- Padstow Park Hotel – Padstow
- Padstow Bowling Club – Padstow
- Marrickville Ritz – Marrickville
- Royal Hotel – Randwick
- Yai Thai – Gosford
“If you want to continue operating, if you care about the health of your community, then take responsibility for safety in your space,” said Mr Argeres.
“This goes for customers too. If you visit a business, follow its rules. If it doesn’t look like it has adequate COVID safety measures in place, avoid it.”
COVID safety breaches can be reported to NSW Police. Liquor & Gaming, SafeWork and NSW Fair Trading conduct uniformed and undercover inspections of licensed venues and can issue on the spot fines or temporarily close businesses where necessary.