Outrage after outback pubs slapped with $7k COVID fine

Outrage after outback pubs slapped with $7k COVID fine

juin 30, 2020 0 Par admin

The Federal Hotel at Wallumbilla and the Royal on Ninety-Nine at Roma were among venues punished with fines of more than $6,500 during the weekend operation in south-west Queensland.

Both towns are hundreds of kilometres away from the closest-recorded COVID-19 case.

The Royal on Ninety-Nine was hit with fines for allegedly breaching COVID restrictions. (Facebook)

Plain clothed police and liquor licencing officials visited pubs at Wallumbilla, Roma and Injune to try and catch establishments for breaching strict state-wide hospitality rules aimed to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The owner of Federal Hotel at Wallumbilla claimed the authorities dined in her restaurant and intentionally breached social-distancing rules before returning the following day and slapping the venue with a fine of $6,672.

“They pretend to come for lunch big group. Definitely broke COVID rules … they pushed and pulled their own tables together and didn’t sign and register in (the) book in (the) bar … They come back next day to enforce,” the owner said in a social media post.

Owners of Wallumbilla’s Federal Hotel were also hit with fines for allegedly breaching restrictions. (Flickr / Matt (CC BY-SA 2.0))
Justin Garvie, owner of Roma’s Royal on Ninety-Nine, said their fine was issued by police after staff failed to record the names and contact details of an officer who dined at the café on Sunday morning.

“We’re doing the best we can. There’s rules that are changing all the time, people getting confused by it,” Mr Garvie said.

“We’re taking names and address, we’ve got signage up, we’re disinfecting tables, we’ve got hand sanitiser everywhere.”

Police said in a statement fines were issued only after officers spoke “at length” with venues about their social distancing obligations, and the venues continue to breach the rules.

“Despite officers speaking at length with business owners and providing information regarding compliance issues, premises continued to breach directions,” the statement said.

“During the operation it was identified businesses were failing to: restrict patron numbers appropriately, implement social distancing measures, appropriately maintain guest registries and restrict people from gathering around bars.

“In one instance, officers observed more than 200 patrons moving freely inside a premises.”

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