Dancing patrons spark $10,000 COVID breach fine

Odyssey Bar Restaurant in Leichhardt has been hit with a $10,000 fine for a COVID breach after CCTV footage showed large groups of patrons mingling and dancing in multiple locations around the venue.

The fine comes as a team of 30 inspectors from the NSW Department of Customer Service returns today to south-west Sydney for a second COVID safety blitz after almost 100 breaches were detected at local hospitality businesses last Friday.

Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors will also be visiting pubs and clubs screening the second State of Origin rugby league game tonight to check for COVID compliance.

The fine for Odyssey Bar Restaurant came after Liquor & Gaming NSW visited the venue and watched CCTV footage from last month showing patrons mingling, dancing and hugging across several areas.

Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance, Dimitri Argeres, said there was a complete disregard for social distancing, resulting in two $5000 fines being issued to the venue.

“It’s hard to fathom how staff could have failed to notice and stop things getting out of hand as patrons had in effect created multiple dancefloors,” Mr Argeres said.

“The COVID Safe requirements are in place for a reason, and all venues need to make sure they are fully compliant.”

Department of Customer Service inspectors will return to south-west Sydney today after 94 breaches were found at around 32 hospitality venues in Liverpool during a one-day blitz on Friday, resulting in over 25 penalty notices and thousands of dollars in fines.

The inspections were part of a joint blitz conducted by Liquor & Gaming NSW, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading, with support from NSW Food Authority and NSW Health. These agencies are working together to conduct a series of compliance checks for COVID breach issues in the lead-up to the festive season.

Mr Argeres said of the 74 hospitality venues inspected, 13 were not registered as COVID Safe, 39 did not have a current safety plan, 20 had issues with record keeping, seven were not properly adhering to social distancing, two displayed hygiene issues and 13 had no COVID-19 safety marshal.

“Such a high level of breaches is simply unacceptable and puts at risk all the hard work in containing the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

“One venue had not registered as COVID Safe, had no safety plan, had not recorded any patron details since July, had no conditions of entry and had not spaced seating and tables to allow for physical distancing.

“Another venue had no safety plan and no sign-in register or records kept at all – and perhaps most concerningly, did not understand any of the Public Health Order requirements when questioned by inspectors.

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