A Sydney venue has been fined $5000 for allowing at least 600 wedding guests, almost double its Covid-safe capacity.
The breach at the wedding reception, believed to have been held at the Imperial Paradiso on Spencer Street in Fairfield, in Sydney's southwest, has left the public and police outraged, as it is only 10 kilometres from the Berala Covid-19 hotspot.
Police attended the venue on Saturday and estimated at least 600 people were at the reception, despite a Covid capacity of 350.
Paradiso Receptions, which has seven wedding venues across Sydney, has received heavy backlash online, prompting the company to delete its Facebook and Instagram pages.
Angry users said the business and venue should be ashamed of themselves.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted Paradiso Receptions and the Imperial Paradiso for comment.
A Snapchat uploaded from the venue appears to show a NSW Police officer walking past a table of guests.
Guests are yet to be penalised but the venue operator, a 46-year-old man, has been fined $5000 for breaching public health orders.
Once police intervened, many guests were told to depart.
Covid breach venue ‘done bloody wrong’
Acting Premier John Barilaro said on Monday that he was furious about the breach.
"When you have a deliberate act like the venue operators ... in this case we've got an example of somebody who's done bloody wrong," Mr Barilaro said.
"He puts his business, his reputation, that business' reputation at risk, (plus) the sector, the broader economy, jobs, the health of this state."
Mr Barilaro said the $5000 penalty may be insufficient given the amount of revenue the venue likely garnered from the wedding.
He said NSW health authorities would consider beefing up penalties.
"No one wins when someone cheats, when everyone else in your industry is doing the right thing and you've decided to deliberately disobey the rules, you jeopardise your own business," Mr Barilaro said.
Police minister ‘baffled’ by wedding Covid breach
Police Minister David Elliott described the breach as baffling.
"It is a terrible start to the police week... and it is baffling that somebody would breach it so badly," Mr Elliott told the Nine Network.
"This isn't one or two people coming from an area in lockdown or, you know, this isn't a dozen people that turned up unannounced.
"This is twice the amount of people that were allowed to attend that wedding reception, in an area not far from Berala."
NSW records zero new Covid cases
The state announced zero new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Monday, however Mr Barilaro has delivered a stern warning to residents following unsatisfactory testing rates.
There were 22,275 tests processed in the previous 24-hour period, a total he said was “far too low”.
“If we're going to succeed in staying ahead of the Covid pandemic, testing is crucial in large numbers so we can be confident of the data when we're making decisions,” he said.
There were 18,923 tests the previous day.
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