COVID breaches force second venue closure

The Rivers Restaurant in Thredbo will be shut for a week for serial COVID breaches across repeat visits from police and the liquor regulator.

NSW Police and Liquor & Gaming NSW visited the venue a total of four times in July and September, identifying breaches relating to:

  • patron numbers exceeding the venue capacity per square metre
  • a lack of spacing between seated patrons
  • mingling between tables and in queues
  • alcohol being consumed while standing.

Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres said the message just wasn’t getting through.

“This venue has consistently failed to maintain COVID safety standards and has not complied with its own COVID safety plan,” Argeres said.

“Police officers and Liquor & Gaming inspectors observed situations where the venue was repeatedly over capacity, groups were seated almost back to back, and queues of up to 30 people stood shoulder to shoulder.

“They also observed patrons drinking shots at the bar and consuming liquor while standing, including one of the business owners.

“First the venue was warned, then its manager and event promoter were fined $5000 each.

“After finding yet more breaches on the fourth visit, it was clear that the ongoing operation of the premises presented a clear and significant risk to public health.”

The Rivers Restaurant will be closed for seven days as a result of the COVID breaches, from 5am Friday, September 25.

“As we come into party season with major events such as the Spring Racing Carnival, Bathurst 1000 motor race, the footy finals, and schoolies celebrations, we’re warning all hospitality providers and function operators to stick to the limits around venue capacity and group bookings,” Argeres said.

“Distance and space are crucial: to avoid sharing close contacts groups must stay seated at a distance from other groups.”

Rivers Restaurant is the second NSW venue to be closed for a week following last month’s closure of Unity Hall Hotel in Rozelle for a series of similar COVID breaches. 

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