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 “disregard of mandated COVID safety measures”.
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,” 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.”
List of fined pubs grows
More than 18 NSW venues have been fined for COVID breaches, with the Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain and The Eastern Hotel in Bondi Junction the latest to be fined $5000 for COVID breaches.
Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors visited the Unity Hall last week and found several COVID breaches including lack of social distancing between tables and chairs, an out-of-date safety plan and improper recording of patrons’ details.
The hotel failed to detail the time of entry for each patron in the physical sign-in register and was not digitising the register within 24 hours.
The Eastern Hotel has been fined for allowing gaming machine players to sit side-by-side.
Inspectors attended the hotel and viewed CCTV vision of two male patrons seated at gaming machines spaced less than 1.5 metres apart on August 1, and a third patron sitting at an opposite bank in very close proximity to the others.
Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres said the breach occurred only days after a previous inspection covered the social distancing procedures in the gaming room.
“The manager told the inspectors that the venue had proper procedures in place to ensure gaming machine players are kept 1.5 metres apart,” Argeres said.
“The licensee has since advised us that he will turn off every second machine to ensure compliance with the public health order.”
Argeres said all pubs, licensed venues and cafes and restaurants must ensure their staff are constantly checking for compliance with all conditions in their COVID safe plans.
“These latest breaches mean a total of 18 venues across NSW have now been fined for COVID breaches in the past month,” he said.
“The time for warnings is now long gone. Venues caught doing the wrong thing can expect to be fined for the first breach and shut down for second and subsequent breaches.”
Publican to face court
A publican will face court later this year after he allegedly failed to complete a COVID-19 Safety plan for his business, telling police he had intended to “but his printer wasn’t working”.
NSW Police say the licensee at the pub in Casino, in the state’s Northern Rivers region, had previously been warned and handed a $5000 fine.
Separately, the licensee of a hotel on the NSW mid north coast was yesterday fined $1000 over a number of alleged COVID-19 public health order breaches.
Patrolling police identified “a number of potential breaches” at the venue on Saturday including a 21st birthday party that had originally been booked for 10 people.
“However, numerous others in attendance,” police said on Wednesday.
“Further, social distancing was not being adhered to, in particular in the pub’s gaming area.”