NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed a raft of new restrictions for the state’s hospitality industry, citing serious concerns for coronavirus transmission through the state’s pubs and hotels.
Speaking to the media this morning, Berejiklian said the maximum group booking will be slashed from 20 to 10 people, while pubs and hotels will be forced to limit their capacity to 300 patrons.
Venues capable of holding more than 250 patrons will need a dedicated marshal through opening hours to ensure social distancing and compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Smaller venues – that is, pubs and hotels which can handle fewer than 250 punters at any one time – will need to deploy a marshal during peak hours.
On top of that, guest registration will become mandatory to aid contact tracing efforts in the event of an outbreak connected to a venue.
Those rules will be enforced from midnight Thursday, with all NSW pubs required to download and enforce a COVID Safe plan.
The amendments come amid serious concerns over a coronavirus outbreak traced to Casula’s Crossroads Hotel, which has grown to 28 people.
NSW tallied 13 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours leading up to 8pm Monday; three of those individuals attended the venue in Sydney’s south-east, while a further seven are close contacts of those folks.
While the catalyst for that cluster is still under investigation, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant yesterday said there health authorities are probing potential links to Melbourne’s ongoing outbreak.
Berejiklian said the state is on high alert after the virus’ resurgence in the neighbouring state of Victoria, and acknowledged that NSW may have experienced undetected community transmission for some time.
Speaking to Ben Fordham on 2GB this morning, Berejiklian said she couldn’t guarantee the state will escape further restrictions.
“If we need to go further, we will,” she said, adding, “I can’t guarantee that we won’t need to go further across the board in curtailing existing abilities of people to do what they are doing”.