As Victoria descends into its second lockdown, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned NSW could be next if social distancing rules aren’t followed and that businesses will be forced to pay.
She said the government’s focus in June was educating businesses on social distancing and safety requirements, but the gloves are coming off in July.
Berejiklian warned that businesses found to have broken public health orders will face on the spot fines of $5,000, and future penalties of up to $55,000.
“Thanks to the hard work of the community, thousands of businesses have been able to reopen their doors and welcome back customers,” Berejiklian said.
She said it’s critical that as NSW continues to reopen, businesses do not become complacent.
“Whether it’s a café, construction business, cinema or sports club, all organisations must ensure the safety of staff and customers. There are no more excuses.”
As it stands, there are 10,500 registered COVID Safe businesses in NSW but Berejiklian said more businesses need to develop their COVID Safe plan.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello echoed her words.
“Downloading an industry specific safety plan and registering as COVID Safe is simple and can be done online. Service NSW can help with any questions,” Mr Dominello said.
“Customers are encouraged to give feedback to businesses. Our focus in June 2020 was on educating industry; while our focus in July 2020 will be on compliance.”
Berejiklian on Thursday warned the risk of contagion in NSW is high after Victoria continues to experience days of record case numbers.
A return to lockdown for NSW would be economically devastating. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Victoria’s partial lockdowns could cost the national economy as much as $1 billion a week.