Nine Bondi bars have been banned from selling takeaway liquor for seven days due to COVID Public Health Order concerns.
The move follows crowds of Bondi locals being seen congregating or “bar crawling” with takeaway cocktails at night despite it being in the middle of a lockdown.
Dimitri Argeres, Director Compliance, Better Regulation Division, said the activity of selling cocktails to people to drink nearby or as they walked between Bondi bars was encouraging the community to breach public health orders and had to stop.
“We’ve taken this action in response to concerns raised by the police and the community about drinks such as margarita cocktails in disposable cups being sold in multiple bars along Bondi Beach,” Argeres said.
“While it is understandable hospitality businesses are trying to maximise business during these hard times, this activity doesn’t pass the pub test as it results in patron crowding, congestion and a lack of social distancing.
“As we respond to the pandemic, businesses must be aware of the effect their goods and services have on the community and on the public health orders.
“It’s not appropriate for this type of risky activity to continue given all our efforts and the sacrifices being made across Greater Sydney to reduce the community transmission of the COVID-19 delta variant. What is appropriate is a stop of these takeaway alcohol sales for a week in Bondi to allow those businesses and the local community a necessary reset.”
The direction, under section 75 of the Liquor Act, was issued to the following Bondi bars: Bondi Rumba, Bondi Tony’s Burger Joint, TAQIZA, Italo House, Speakeasy, Neighbourhood, Bondi Liquor Co, Fonda Mexican and North Bondi Fish, prohibiting takeaway sales of liquor directly from the venue, excluding home delivery, for seven days from Friday, July 30, 2021.
“I feel like we have been made a scapegoat”
One of the Bondi bars, Bondi Rumpa has decided to close for the week following the ban.
The owner (pictured main) announced on Facebook: “I have been doing my best to keep staff, customers & the Bondi community safe during these constantly evolving lockdowns. Unfortunately Rumba has been issued with a ban from serving takeaway alcohol for the next 7 days. It has been stated that our use of plastic takeaway cups has presented a risk to public health and attributed to crowding.
“In the end I have only kept doors open for my staff and my regulars. This second lockdown has been challenging for many of us, myself (& Rumba) included. I’m going to use this as a sign it’s time to take a well needed break.
“I feel like we have been made a scapegoat for what has been occurring in Bondi (& Sydney as a whole). To target small business rather than the people breaking lockdown protocols is really sad to me. Guess we are an easy target when looking for “blame”. I have a lot of very strong feelings and opinions regarding this but will hold onto those.”
A failure to comply with the direction carries a penalty of up to $11,000. Breaches of the Public Health Orders can be found here.