A photo of a big crowd of people outside The Golden Sheaf Hotel in Sydney’s inner east has emerged on Reddit overnight, fuelling concerns that the NSW capital could follow suit of Melbourne and return to Stage 3 restrictions.
Shared on the r/Sydney subreddit, the image – allegedly taken at 9pm on July 8 – shows hundreds of people lining up outside the hugely popular Double Bay pub, without keeping to state’s physical distancing guidelines of keeping 1.5 metres distance from others. There are also no known masks being worn by people waiting in the line.
A witness who passed the Golden Sheaf last night at approximately 8.30pm told PEDESTRIAN.TV that the crowd was like “a fucken moshpit of 400 18-year-olds” and also said that every time they’ve passed the pub since the NSW restrictions eased, the line to get inside has looked similar to this.
People across social media have commented on the image, saying that it’s now only a matter of time before Sydney follows Melbourne’s lead and returns to stay at home orders, and worried that it could compromise the QLD border reopening.
The pub is also smack-bang in the middle of the Woollahra district, which has previously been identified as one of Sydney’s virus hotspots.
Local MP for Wentworth Dave Sharma also took to Twitter to condemn the behaviour in the image.
This behaviour is NOT OKAY ????????
➡️As the outbreak in Victoria has shown, COVID-19 can resurge easily.
➡️ Pubs and patrons need to respect social distancing and other health measures, or we risk a similar outbreak in Sydney. https://t.co/SWMIIfRwpq
— Dave Sharma (@DaveSharma) July 9, 2020
Wednesday nights at The Golden Sheaf are wildly popular for university students due to its $5 drinks, and lines like the one in the photo were a weekly occurrence before the COVID-19 lockdowns.
PEDESTRIAN.TV has contacted The Golden Sheaf, and it’s expected the establishment will make a statement this afternoon. At the time of writing, The Sheaf has not commented on the issue.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addressed the media this morning (July 9), and said that the state has been placed on “high alert” of potential community transmissions, noting that the renewed stage 3 restrictions in Victoria should be a “wake up call” for NSW residents.
In the last 24 hours, NSW has recorded 13 new cases of coronavirus, 11 of which are from hotel quarantine, and the remaining two are cases from Albury.
UPDATE – July 9, 12.50pm
Justine Baker CEO of Solotel Group who owns The Golden Sheaf, has made a statement about the crowds outside the pub last night, confirming that the Sheaf is practising strict social distancing throughout the venue.
“We employ management and security staff to monitor queues constantly,” she said in the statement.
“At the Golden Sheaf last night we worked immediately with police to disperse the crowd and ensure social distancing measures were established.”
She also confirmed the pub will be bringing in additional staff and security to maintain social distanced numbers both inside and within the queue outside, and the Sheaf will be taking bookings only on Wednesday nights from 8pm.Image: Reddit / bluetooth155