News Sydney pub closed for COVID breaches

Sydney pub closed for COVID breaches

The Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain has been fined $10,000. Photo: Getty
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A Sydney pub has been fined $10,000 and is the first NSW venue to be closed for a week for flouting coronavirus regulations.

The Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain has been shut down by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing for twice breaching regulations.

The pub was caught hosting two birthday parties and failing to follow COVID-19 safety plan requirements, just a day after receiving a penalty notice for other COVID breaches.

The venue will be closed for seven days until next Wednesday in addition to copping a total of $10,000 in fines from Liquor & Gaming and NSW Police.

Liquor & Gaming inspectors can temporarily close venues for second and third offences, under the state’s public health orders.

“The venue was fined $5000 after our inspection on 5 August,” director of compliance Dimitri Argeres said.

“Inspectors identified an out of date COVID-19 safety plan, inadequate sign-in processes relating to not recording times of entry and digitising records and a lack of physical distancing between chairs and tables.”

A penalty notice was issued for those offences on August 7.

When NSW Police returned the following day, they found 32 guests at a private function dancing, standing and mingling while drinking alcohol.

Police fined the venue another $5000 and referred the issue to Liquor & Gaming, which reviewed CCTV and confirmed multiple breaches.

Inspectors from Liquor & Gaming, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading have so far issued a total of 108 fines to NSW hospitality businesses, amounting to $480,000.

The pub apologised on Facebook saying “we did not fully understand every aspect of the changing regulations and we should have”.

The pub has since implemented procedures “that go above and beyond what is required of hotels to ensure the safety of our staff and patrons”.

Meanwhile, Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart has sent its boarders, 30 teachers and students in years 7-10 home until September 18 after a year 7 border’s virus diagnosis.

The school said senior students in years 11 and 12 would not return to face-to-face learning on Wednesday.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has brushed off concerns a growing cluster of virus cases linked to two Sydney public hospitals could hit health services.

Three of the nine COVID-19 cases announced on Tuesday were linked to an outbreak at Concord and Liverpool hospitals, taking the cluster to seven.

Among Tuesday’s cases was a previously reported visitor to one of the hospitals’ emergency departments, while the other two worked at the Concord emergency department.

The hospital has banned visitors until Friday morning, and all wards will be deep cleaned.

The infected people had no symptoms while at work and wore personal protective equipment while caring for patients.

Mr Hazzard said NSW hospitals were still among the safest in the world and were well equipped to weather outbreaks.

“There is approximately 100 staff that have been asked to stand down for the required period of 14 days,” he said on Tuesday.

“We certainly do have enough staff to make sure that the positions are filled.”

The nine new cases were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday night from 12,494 tests.

-AAP