Melbourne nightclub Love Machine has been fined more than $10,000 for breaching the COVID-19 restrictions and opening for a function.
Officers from Victoria Police’s liquor licensing unit raided the club on Saturday night. The Age reports plain-clothes detectives attended the Prahran club again on Monday morning and were understood to have requested footage from closed-circuit cameras inside the venue.
Nightclub sources claim the event, held on Saturday night, was live-streamed in addition to being attended by staff, promoters and friends.
The director of the venue’s licensee company has been issued with a $9912 infringement. He will also receive a further $991 fine from the state liquor unit for supplying alcohol not in accordance with its licence.
Nightclub restrictions around Australia
Victoria has said it will allow nightclubs to re-open on June 22, but there will be seated service only and dance floors will remain closed.
In Western Australia, patrons also have to remain seated while drinking.
Queensland plans to re-open nightclubs on July 10, while NSW has said it may consider reopening nightclubs in August.
Nightclubs are still unable to open in South Australia, Tasmania and ACT.
Nightclubs have reopened in the Northern Territory, provided there is adequate social distancing.
Venue owners threatening to ignore Vic restrictions
Licensed venue owners are threatening to ignore strict Victorian COVID-19 restrictions.
Save Our Pubs spokesman Rabhi Yannie, who owns the Botanical Hotel in South Yarra said: “The situation is terminal and getting worse. As an industry, we will have no choice but to ignore the current rules.
“We don’t want to break the law or risk fines, however, the precedent has been set by this government when people break the law as a collective.”
Meanwhile, Justin O’Donnell, Chairperson of Chapel Street Precinct Association, which represents more than 2200 businesses, said regulations in Victoria could see 20 to 30% of the area’s largest employers permanently shut down.
“Our State Government’s one size fits all approach does not work financially for many Chapel Street Precinct businesses, particularly many of our larger businesses that are some of our precinct’s largest employers, ‘ he said.
“We are asking for those Chapel Street Precinct businesses that have a larger space (square footage) for limit numbers to be based on their areas available, while maintaining the one metre by four metre rule. The issue is the number cap that has been stamped for all businesses regardless of the size.”