NSW Has Tightened Restrictions for Pubs and Hotels as Casula Hotel Cluster Grows

There are new limits on group bookings and venue capacities for all NSW pubs and hotels.
Samantha Teague
Published on July 14, 2020

As the cluster of positive COVID-19 cases associated with a pub in Sydney's southwest grows to 37 and two venues are fined for not adhering to public health orders, the NSW Government has announced it will tighten some restrictions for pubs and hotels in a bid to contain the virus.

In an announcement made on Tuesday, July 14, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that group bookings will now be reduced from 20 to ten and large venues will be capped at 300 people (compared to the previous one person per four-square-metre rule). There will also be stricter rules around the collection of patron's contact details and COVIDSafe Plans will now be mandatory.

"We know from the health advice we've received from the beginning of the pandemic that indoor activity, where people aren't seated, is a huge health risk," the Premier said. "It increases the chance of transmission."

By 12.01am on Friday, July 17, every pub and hotel in NSW must have a registered COVIDSafe Plan. Venues larger than 250 must have a full-time COVIDSafe Hygiene Marshall on duty at all times to ensure the plans are being implemented, while smaller venues must have a COVIDSafe person during peak times (12–3pm and 5–9pm). 

It'll now be compulsory for pubs and hotels to collect every patron's details (instead of just one person per group) and, where possible, record them electronically. If recording them on paper, venues must then create a digital copy. 

New rules will be introduced to pubs across NSW that will limit bookings to a maximum of 10 people and cap the number of...

Posted by NSW Health on Thursday, 16 July 2020

The tightened restrictions comes as 37 positive cases have been linked to Casula's Crossroads Hotel, as of Thursday, July 16, and The Star Casino was fined $5000 by Liquor & Gaming NSW for allowing groups of adults consuming alcohol to mingle. Double Bay's Golden Sheaf was also fined $5500 late last week after a photo of a long queue of patrons — said to be about 250 people — not social distancing circulated via Reddit.

The NSW Government is urging anyone who visited the Crossroads Hotel between Friday, July 3 and Friday, July 10 to get tested and immediately self-isolate.

"Whether we like it or not, the reality is that life is not normal and it will not be normal until we have a vaccine or a cure. Life will not be normal during the pandemic and so the question we ask in New South Wales is what can we do to reduce the risk, to reduce the spread so we continue to have a good level of activity in our community, a good level of people staying in their jobs and going about their business."

The new restrictions for NSW pubs and hotels come into place 12.01am on Friday, July 17. For more information about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and to download a COVIDSafe Plan, head to the NSW Government website.

Top image: Kimberley Low

Update: July 17, 2020

Published on July 14, 2020 by Samantha Teague
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