You’d think they would have learnt the first time but a Sydney pub has been caught out for breaching coronavirus restrictions again.
The Phoenix Hotel in Woollahra has now copped a double fine after it was found in breach of physical distancing rules and other COVID-19 safety measures.
When Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors visited the pub this week, after previously visiting twice in June, they saw COVID safety was still below standard and issued the venue with a total of $10,000 in fines.
Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres said when it came to poor performance on repeat visits, inspectors had no choice but to double down and ensure the message was understood loud and clear.
“When we visited venues in June, we provided education and advice,” he said.
“Now when we return, we want to see that they’ve turned things around.
“The Phoenix Hotel should have been aware of their sign in obligations and spacing between chairs, tables and patrons.”
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Mr Argeres said just because a venue had been visited once does not mean they were off the hook.
“We will show up again and we will have higher expectations the next time around,” he said.
“The current escalating approach to noncompliance means that repeated issues may result in venue closures.”
Liquor & Gaming, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading completed 896 inspections during a blitz over the past two weeks and fined 31 hospitality venues in this period.
Compliance failures were mainly related to inadequate sign in procedures and record keeping, out of date COVID-19 Safety Plans, and issues with hygiene and physical distancing.
Inspectors from the three agencies have so far handed out 90 fines to hospitality businesses, worth $361,000.
About 64 per cent of fines have gone to licensed cafes and restaurants and 24 per cent to pubs, hotels and small bars.
“The COVID safe requirements are there for a reason,” Mr Argeres said.
“All venues, particularly those we have previously visited, need to make sure they are fully compliant.
“If you’re not meeting COVID safe standards you will be held to account.”
Any member of the public can go onto nsw.gov.au and provide feedback on businesses.
“This public feedback can help us identify the risky players and take action where necessary,” Mr Argeres said.
More than 76,000 NSW businesses are now registered as COVID safe.
It is a mandatory requirement for hospitality venues to have a plan and register it.