Nine Bondi businesses have been slapped with a seven-day ban from selling takeaway alcohol after authorities claim they were caught encouraging customers to loiter around the area. Or, as it sounds to me, like a lockdown bar crawl.
Currently, restaurants and cafes in the Greater Sydney area are not allowed to offer sit-down service and can only sell takeaway food and alcohol during the lockdown. But, according to Liquor and Gaming NSW compliance director Dimitri Argeres, authorities claim they spotted a number of Bondi venues offering cocktails to people to either drink nearby or while they walked to the next “bar”.
C’mon, it’s called lockdown, not get down.
The venues involved in the takeaway bar crawl incident include Bondi Rumba, Bondi Tony’s Burger Joint, TAQIZA, Italo House, Speakeasy, Neighbourhood, Bondi Liquour Co, Fonda Mexican, and North Bondi Fish. According to Google Maps, they are all roughly within a one-to-two-block radius on Hall Street and Glenayr Avenue.
The nine bars and restaurants were found to have breached a rule under Section 75 of the Liquor Act and were issued a seven-day ban on all takeaway alcohol. While the venues are able to still do home delivery, some venues, like Bondi Rumba, have decided to close shop for the week. In an Instagram post announcing the news, they said they felt “scapegoat[ed]” by authorities.
“I feel like we have been made a scapegoat for what has been occurring in Bondi (and Sydney as a whole),” they said.
“To target small businesses rather than the people breaking lockdown protocols is really sad to me. Guess we are an easy target when looking for ’blame’.
“Information provided to businesses on what we can and can’t do has been conflicting, constantly changing, and poorly communicated. I have a lot of very strong feelings and opinions regarding this but will hold onto those.”
The venue added that they had only stayed open for their staff and regulars during this lockdown period.
Bondi Tony’s Burger Joint said that they had consistently asked people to do the right thing, telling people not to loiter around their venue and go home. While they were upset when they had first received the seven-day ban, they said in an Instragram post that they had reflected on it and decided to focus on the more important things in life.
“I was upset about it yesterday, but after seeing this morning’s sunrise with me mate… [there are] zero fucks now given.
“I’ve got my health, my mates, and a team of staff who all give a shit. So, losing a few dollars from no booze sales is the last thing on my mind right now.”
In a statement shared with the Daily Telegraph, Dimitri Argeres said: “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.
“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.”
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello added that “if you don’t take the safety of your staff and community seriously, you should expect a visit from the inspectors”.
“Too many people are doing it too tough for some businesses to create the health orders as a joke.”
It’s unclear whether the owners of the Bondi venus will be met with a fine for breaching stay-at-home orders, but a failure to comply with the rule could result in up to an $11,000 fine. PEDESTRIAN.TV has reached out to Liquor and Gaming NSW for clarification on this.