PUBS FINED: Police on the Northern Rivers are fining licensed premises which breach COVID-19 restrictions and they want people to let them know if there’s a hotel near them not following the rules. File photo.
PUBS FINED: Police on the Northern Rivers are fining licensed premises which breach COVID-19 restrictions and they want people to let them know if there’s a hotel near them not following the rules. File photo.

More pubs breach COVID-19 regulations

AS THE pandemic continues, police on the Northern Rivers said they are issuing more fines as hotels fail to comply with pandemic regulations around numbers and social distancing.

However, SafeWork NSW has visited 16 licensed premises across Lismore and Ballina but found COVID-19 regulations were being followed.

Tweed Byron Police District Inspector Luke Arthurs said officers make several checks every evening somewhere in their regional operating area.

“Specialised licensed police including a sergeant and a constable, who focus solely on this, are doing the checks,” he said.

“Generally they are visiting a couple across the whole district every night.

“While we have found most venues are doing the right thing, there’s been more infringements issued, including a $1000 fine.”

Insp Arthurs said if anyone attends a licensed premises and feel it is unsafe they should contact police.

“We will come out and have a look at it,” Insp Arthurs said.

“By now everyone should know the rules.”

Richmond Police District Crime Manager Detective Acting Inspector Ty Johnston, said he was pleased to report most people in the area “are doing the right thing”.

“A majority of patrons and licensed premises are abiding by and supporting the COVID-19 regulations,” he said.

“However, if anyone is on a licensed premises which they feel is failing to comply with the COVID-19 protocols we encourage them to contact us.”

Act Insp Johnston said RPD officers respond to all licensed premises in the district regularly.

“Not only to review COVID-19, but to enforce all licensed premises requirements,” he said.

Meanwhile, Liquor & Gaming NSW have been coming down hard on hotels and pubs who fail to comply, saying “there are no second chances”.

Liquor & Gaming NSW posted online last week after visiting a number of Sydney hotels which were fined for breaching pandemic restrictions, that hospitality venues cannot disregard these requirements.

“If we visit again and observe further breaches, at this premises or any others that have already been fined, they may be temporarily shut down,” the organisation said.

“We’ve seen how easily and quickly COVID transmission occurs – there are no second chances with this virus.”

On Thursday a spokesman for SafeWork NSW confirmed that their inspectors have carried out 16 inspections of hospitality venues in the Northern Rivers region – 14 in Ballina and two in Lismore, but have not issued any fines.

“The NSW Government is working with the hospitality industry to ensure businesses are providing COVID safe spaces for their communities,” the spokesman said.

“ SafeWork NSW is authorised under the NSW Public Health Act 2010 to enforce the Public Health Orders.”

The spokesman said they can take compliance action where necessary, including imposing fines and considering temporary closures of businesses that are not doing the right thing.

SafeWork also carried out 30 inspections of hospitality venues on the Mid North Coast comprising one 1 in Bellingen, 27 in Coffs Harbour and two in Port Macquarie., with again, no fines issued.


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