Police have slapped a Sydney wedding operator with a $5,000 fine after around 700 people rocked up to a reception – more than double the amount legally and safely allowed in that venue.
The ABC has identified the venue as Paradiso Receptions in Fairfield, run by 46-year-old Steve Naamo. The company has since wiped its social media presence.
Police were called to the wedding reception on Saturday night and quickly told Naamo that people needed to leave, which he complied with. He was fined the next day.
“It has infuriated me, it’s not the way I wanted to spend my Monday morning I can assure you,” NSW Police Minister David Elliott told reporters on Monday.
“I’m actually quite disgusted that anybody would put their community at risk that way.
“I cannot believe that any sound person in this state in 2021 doesn’t understand what their obligations are.”
On Saturday, weddings were allowed to have up to 350 guests, which is around half the “600 or 700 people” who were at the Fairfield wedding reception.
“This wasn’t a dozen people turning up to Christmas lunch unannounced, this was twice the amount of people that were allowed to attend this venue,” Elliott added.
Incidentally, on the same day, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the amount of guests allowed at weddings would be cut to just 100 people, provided there’s one person per four square metres. However these restrictions only came into play on Monday.
The lockdown breach comes as Sydney battles with the current wave which started back in December. More worryingly, the Western Suburbs, including Fairfield, have become home to a cluster of their own.
“In this scenario and this case we got an example of someone who’s done it bloody wrong,” Deputy Premier John Barilaro said on Monday.
“He puts his own business and reputation at risk and the sector at risk, the broader economy and jobs, and worse the health of this state.”
It’s not the first wedding to cause a COVID-unsafe stir in recent weeks. In late December, several people from the locked-down Northern Beaches somehow managed to attend a wedding in Pyrmont, and were later fined for doing so.