Coronavirus safety breaches see Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel fined $5000k

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A boutique waterfront hotel has become the latest Sydney venue to be fined for coronavirus safety breaches – the fifteenth such fine issued in just three weeks.

The Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel in the city’s eastern suburbs has been fined $5000 for multiple breaches, including failing to follow its own COVID-19 Safety Plan.

On Friday night, undercover inspectors from Liquor and Gaming NSW visited found numerous groups of patrons standing around drinking alcohol, as well as separate groups sitting at tables within 1.5 metres of each other.

The Watsons Bay Hotel in Sydney’s eastern suburbs has been fined $5,000 for breaching COVID safety regulations. (Google Street View)

All poker machines were open for use, without there being 1.5 metres between each machine – in breach of the hotel’s COVID Safety Plan, which states that every second machine is to be switched off.

The fine is part of a crackdown on venues across the city amid a growing number of cluster outbreaks linked to restaurants, pubs and clubs.

Under the tightened rules, all patrons must remain seated, bookings are capped at 10 people and venues must have no more than 300 people at any one .

As of Friday, there were 94 cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park, 57 cases associated with the Crossroads Hotel cluster and eight associated with Batemans Bay Soldiers Club.

Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance, Dimitri Argeres, said it was “disappointing” some venues were still not complying with the new rules.

“Flouting these measures is not only bad for the health and safety of patrons; it’s also bad for business,” Mr Argeres said in a statement.

“This latest penalty serves as a reminder to all hospitality businesses that the chances of being caught for non-compliance are high.”

There are 240 inspectors from the NSW Department of Customer Service checking in on venues across the state, with police officers also able to carry out checks.

The Golden Sheaf was also inspected on Friday night and found to be fully compliant with all COVID-19 regulations.

“It’s pleasing that the Golden Sheaf has learnt from its mistake and was not only found to be fully compliant but was also using best practice measures such as having staff escort new patrons to tables and drinks being served to tables,” Mr Argeres said.