The NSW government will reportedly introduce new restrictions on hospitality venues, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Group bookings at pubs and RSLs will be reduced from 20 people to a maximum of 10 people. Large venues will only be permitted to host a maximum of 300 patrons at any given time, regardless of their size. There will also be measures introduced to ensure venues more strictly adhere to existing regulations, such as taking contact details of all patrons for the purposes of contact tracing in the event of an outbreak. Stricter standards for cleaning and disinfecting venues will also be introduced.
The new rules will be formally announced by NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday, according to the SMH. As the state faces the prospect of a second wave, akin to the resurgence that has rapidly spread across Victoria in recent weeks, investigations of certain venues connected to the Crossroads Hotel cluster have revealed several lapses in the ways venues are following government guidelines. The Star Casino, which was visited by a person on July 4 who has since tested positive, was fined $5,000 on July 13 after contact tracing investigators found that groups of patrons were allowed to mingle while drinking, with little regard for physical distancing or hand hygiene. The Golden Sheaf pub in Double Bay was also recently fined $5,000, after images emerged on social media of hundreds of punters queuing to access the venue with no physical distancing.
According to the Herald, the Australian Hotels Association lobbied the NSW government to tighten restrictions, offering a list of recommendations to make pubs safer. The Casula cluster, which currently totals 21 known cases, is the most significant outbreak to hit NSW since the Ruby Princess blunder that allowed multiple infected passengers to disembark a cruise ship in central Sydney in mid-March.