Coronavirus: The stricter rules brought in for NSW pubs as Sydney cluster grows

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·4-min read

NSW has announced tighter restrictions on people heading to the pub as a coronavirus cluster attached to a Sydney hotel continues to grow.

The state’s Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told reporters on Tuesday, NSW has 13 new cases of coronavirus.

In total, it now has 28 attached to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney’s southwest.

Dr Chant added anyone at the hotel from July 3 to 10 has to come forward for testing and even those not showing symptoms should self-isolate.

How many people can go to the pub in NSW?

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said patrons in NSW will now only be able to book at a pub for groups of no more than 10 at a time.

That’s half of what it was before the rule change.

A group of men drinking beer at 'Soy Restaurant' in Bondi Beach, Sydney.
Pubgoers enjoy a beer at 'Soy Restaurant' in Bondi Beach. The government believes people need to be seated in bars to stop COVID spreading. Source: AAP

“We know from the health advice we've received from the beginning of the pandemic, that indoor activity, where people aren't seated is a huge health risk,” Mr Berejiklian said.

“It increases the chance of transmission and it was actually the AHA's (Australian Hotels Association) advice to us which said that if you reduce bookings from from 20 to 10, it reduces the likelihood for people who may mingle, that when you have a group of 10, the likelihood that everybody stays seated and that behaviour will continue is a safe option.”

How many people can be in a pub at the same time?

The premier said in NSW the cap on people in major venues has been set at 300 “with a full-time marshal on duty”.

“For venues that are less than 250, there will be a COVID-safe person there during the peak times when the venue is operating, and of course, the industry will be mandating taking every single person's details,” she said.

“I know the industry is making sure it's done electronically to allow for clarity and legibility and good information.

“This is a good example of industry and government working together to reduce the risk during a pandemic.”

The changes – decided during a meeting of senior government ministers on Monday night – doesn't apply to clubs, restaurants or The Star Casino.

COVID-19 testing is carried out at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney, Australia.
People queue for COVID-19 testing at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula. Source: Getty Images

What do pubs and venues have to do?

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said every pub in NSW has to download a COVID-19-safe plan and register it with Services NSW.

“I think that is a very big step forward and I welcome that attendance sheets will be absolutely mandated for every pub and hotel in NSW,” Mr Dominello said.

Pubs and venues will also have to record names and contact details.

Alex Fensham (co-owner) working at The Temperence Society, Summer Hill.
Alex Fensham, who co-owns The Temperence Society in Summer Hill, mixes some drinks. Source: AAP

When will these rules come into effect?

Mr Dominello said the rules will come into effect on Friday at 12.01am.

“These, along with the measures the premier already announced, will go a long way in reducing the risk,” he said.

“Ultimately we have to work together as a community to defeat the spread of the virus. We can't do it alone.”

Were past restrictions not tight enough in NSW?

The premier was asked if past restrictions after lockdown was eased weren’t tight enough to which she responded: “No”.

“It's important to note that it's highly likely, as I said last week - and potentially before then, highly likely that given the evolving situation in Victoria, that NSW was exposed to underlying community transmission from that state,” she said.

“The work that health is doing, whilst it's yet to get to that conclusion, demonstrates there is no doubt that the impact of what's happening in Victoria has impacted New South Wales.

“And that's why we are in a state of high alert.”

Ms Berejiklian added the restrictions are about “reducing risk”.

Victorian numbers continue to spike with 270 new cases announced on Tuesday.

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