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NSW reintroduces tougher restrictions for pubs following virus outbreak – Sydney Morning Herald

The changes relate to pubs only, do not apply to clubs or restaurants, and follow an outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney’s south-west which is now responsible for 21 coronavirus cases.

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The decision to tighten the rules around pubs was made during a meeting of senior government ministers on Monday night. A senior NSW government source said the Australian Hotels Association had proactively approached the government with a list of proposed changes as they wanted to ensure pubs were safe.
“Full credit to the AHA, they came to the government with stronger steps they are prepared to take,” the source said. ” This isn’t about the government being heavy-handed, it’s about tightening existing restrictions.”
Pubs in NSW were allowed to reopen in mid-May but with a limit of 10 people per group booking and with no more than 50 patrons at each venue.
Most recently group bookings of 20 people have been allowed and no restrictions placed on the number of people inside a pub provided a venue complies with an indoor limit of one person for every four square metres.
The changes to be announced on Tuesday will mean no more than 300 people will be allowed inside a pub no matter how large the venue is.
The Golden Sheaf, in Double Bay in Sydney’s east, was fined $5000 last Friday after images of long queues forming outside the venue were shared on the internet.
NSW Police also confirmed on Monday that they had issued a 72-hour shutdown order for a Jindabyne pub in the Snowy Mountains on Saturday after it had been given three formal warnings since May over intoxication levels and public health and safety issues.
The pub, which has since been identified as the Lake Jindabyne Hotel’s bistro, was closed for breaching the Liquor Act, but police flagged that further infringement action was likely. The hotel declined to comment.
Police Minister David Elliott earlier on Monday warned the state’s hospitality industry to abide
by the public health orders or risk having tougher restrictions imposed.
“I’m appealing to all licensees, all pubs, to learn from this mistake and see what’s going on in Victoria. If they are under any illusion under any illusion whatsoever that we are through this in NSW, they are sadly mistaken,” Mr Elliott said.
“We don’t want to see the hospitality industry close down again and go into lock down again, because it may not survive.”
Mr Elliott said patrons also needed to take responsibility for ensuring they were complying with public health orders.
Alexandra Smith is the State Political Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.

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