Victorian pub fined for ignoring COVID-19 restrictions

The owner of the Pastoral Hotel in Echuca, Victoria has been fined almost $22,000 for ignoring restrictions and keeping his doors open during the state’s fifth lockdown.

Under the current restrictions, hospitality venues can only open for takeaway, with sit-down meals or drinks not allowed. However, Pastoral Hotel owner Trevor Andrews has decided to let customers to dine-in and sit at the bar. 

Andrews said he kept his bar open during previous lockdowns. At this stage, there are no cases or exposure sites in the area, located in Campaspe Shire. 

“Right now I’ve got a dozen to 15 people in the bar, all enjoying themselves, having beer and food,” Andrews told ABC News earlier this week.

He was visited and warned by the police to cease breaking the rules. He took to Facebook to explain why he believes it’s legal for his pub to stay open.

The post, which claims he is working within the law, has been shared more than 476 times.

He has been fined $21,808 and told the ABC he would not pay the fine.

“At this stage, I will fight it in court,” he said.

“It’s unlawful what they are doing. I am haven’t broken any laws under the constitution. Somebody has to step up and make the move. There are more than 3000 licensees in Victoria. I am trying to get all the licensees to open up.”

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