NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has expanded on how new restrictions concerning the operations of pubs, clubs and RSLs will affect venues. In addition to restrictions on the number of patrons that can enter a venue and a new cap on the size of group bookings, every pub, club and RSL in the state will need to register a Covid Safe plan by 12.01am on Friday, July 17. Previously, registering a Covid Safe plan – which outlines how state guidelines for the safe operation of a public venue will be deployed in a specific business – has been optional. Just 10 per cent of business owners in NSW, covering around 11,000 venues, have voluntarily registered to date.
Pubs and similar venues will also be required to appoint a ‘hygiene marshal’ who will be responsible for enforcing safety regulations, such as restricting mingling between different groups and ensuring all patrons register their contact information upon entry. Venues that can host between 250 and the maximum of 300 patrons at any one time will be required to have a marshal on duty at all times. Smaller venues with capacities under 250 will only be required to have a marshal on duty at peak times. Venues will be fined for failing to comply with these new measures.
The new restrictions have been announced in response to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak. As of July 14, seven more cases have been added to the tally of infections connected to the cluster so far, bringing the total to 28. One of the newly diagnosed cases worked at shift at the K-mart store in Casula on July 10, and state health officials have called for anyone who shopped there on that day to come forward for testing. The Casula K-mart joins a growing list of venues that were visited by patients connected to the Crossroads outbreak in the days prior to their positive diagnosis.