Dancing patrons spark hefty COVID fine
A bar has been slapped with a $10,000 fine after dancing and hugging patrons sparked multiple COVID safety breaches.
Odyssey Bar Restaurant in Leichhardt was hit with the coronavirus fine after NSW Department of Customer Service inspectors viewed CCTV footage of large groups mingling and dancing in multiple locations across the venue.
The footage, seized by Liquor & Gaming NSW, shows dozens of patrons mingling, dancing and hugging across several areas late into the night and early morning on October 17 and 18.
Liquor & Gaming director of compliance Dimitri Argeres said there was a complete disregard for social distancing that resulted in two $5000 fines being issued to the venue.
"It's hard to fathom how staff could have failed to notice and stop things getting out of hand as patrons had in effect created multiple dancefloors," he said.
"The COVID Safe requirements are in place for a reason, and all venues need to make sure they are fully compliant."
It comes as Department of Customer Service inspectors are getting ready for a second COVID safety blitz on Wednesday night, with pubs and clubs screening the second State of Origin rugby league match set to be checked for compliance.
A team of 30 inspectors detected almost 100 coronavirus breaches during a previous blitz at local hospitality businesses in Sydney's southwest last Friday.
A total of 94 breaches were found at 32 hospitality venues in Liverpool during a one-day blitz on Friday that resulted in more than 25 penalty notices and thousands of dollars in fines.
Mr Argeres said of the 74 hospitality venues inspected, 13 were not registered as COVID Safe, 39 did not have a current safety plan, 20 had issues with record keeping, seven were not properly adhering to social distancing, two displayed hygiene issues and 13 had no COVID-19 safety marshal.
"Such a high level of breaches is simply unacceptable and puts at risk all the hard work in containing the spread of COVID-19," he said.
"One venue had not registered as COVID Safe, had no safety plan, had not recorded any patron details since July, had no conditions of entry and had not spaced seating and tables to allow for physical distancing.
"Another venue had no safety plan and no sign-in register or records kept at all - and perhaps most concerningly, did not understand any of the public health order requirements when questioned by inspectors."
Customer Service NSW said more blitzes were planned for areas in Sydney and across NSW in the coming months so that inspectors can continue enforcing the COVID-19 public health orders and keep the public safe during the festive season.
All members of the public have been encouraged to report any potential COVID safety breaches on nsw.gov.au.
Originally published as Dancing patrons spark hefty COVID fine