Ballina pub shut down for COVID breaches

October 18, 2020
By Ioni Doherty

On Saturday, The Shaws Bay Hotel in Ballina was shut down after repeated COVID safety breaches resulted in two $5,000 fines. The venue will remain closed for a week.

The New South Wales Police identified 12 breaches of the Public Health Orders, as well as intoxication, across two visits on September 27 and October 4.

Police referred referred the matter to Liquor & Gaming NSW whose 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.”

The breaches at Shaws Bay Hotel 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.

The Shaws Bay Hotel will remain closed until 5.00am Saturday, 24 October under the Public Health Act 2010. It is the third NSW venue to be closed for a week following last month’s closures of Unity Hall Hotel, Rozelle and the Rivers Inn Restaurant, Thredbo.   

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