"No mingling": Group bookings limited to 10 at all NSW indoor hospitality venues
17 July 2020, Written by Matt Ogg
Earlier this week the NSW Government announced group bookings at pubs would be capped at 10 starting today, but those measures have now been extended to all indoor hospitality venues with one week of leeway to comply.
After eight new cases were reported in the state overnight, Premier Gladys Berejiklian noted 24,500 people were tested in the past 24 hours and commended the "Herculean" detective work to contain the Crossroads Hotel outbreak with some 5,000-6,000 people contacted and their contacts traced.
The Premier highlighted advice from health experts that indoor activities were the "greatest threat of spreading the disease", which is why the measures applied to pubs have been extended to clubs, restaurants, cafes, and other indoor hospitality venues.
"I'm announcing further tightening and restrictions. This is to give us every opportunity to keep New South Wales as open as possible," she said.
"But we say this in the context that we have to be flexible, we have to appreciate that once this disease gets into the community it moves very, very quickly, and in ways in which we can't always predict."
The measures will come into effect Friday next week, but the Premier hopes people will take on the advice from today.
"We're giving businesses the next few days to get themselves organised," she said.
"We absolutely need everybody seated when they're in a venue no mingling...when you have smaller groups there's less chance of people getting up and mingling."
For weddings and corporate events the maximum number of people is 150, but guests must remain seated. The cap on people allowed in private homes remains at 20, although Premier Berejiklian asked the public to try to limit the number to 10.
Meanwhile, the limit on funerals and places of worship is at 100, as the emotional nature of exchanges in these scenarios increases the probability of transmission.
The Premier's press conference was heavy on themes of personal responsibility, and she made a call to everyone to help get on top of any potential hotspots or community transmission that might be "bubbling away under the surface".
"All of us need to limit our activity, all of us need to think about what we are doing, all of us need to think about how we're keeping ourselves safe, our families safe and our loved ones safe," she said.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said he would be doubling down on compliance on businesses.
"We don't want to lock down sectors, industries or businesses. We do not want to lock down the economy, but we do need to put in place those measures that allow us to operate safely," he said.
"There is a burden on businesses in this state to do the right thing to become compliant, COVID Safe, and to of course be following the protocols."
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the government wanted businesses to be part of the solution, and not the problem.
"Quite frankly, if businesses do not take public health concerns seriously, then seriously they should not be in business," he said.
"Today's announcement takes us another step forward in that journey. We are calling out on the good businesses to keep up the great work that they are doing, and overwhelmingly we have great businesses around the state doing the right thing.
"But there are always gonna be those businesses that think that they live beyond the law."
Today's announcement is aimed at stamping that up, with Dominello reiterating businesses "must comply with the law".
"I'm asking the businesses in today's announcement that you must do a couple of things immediately: download your safety plan, register that safety plan, and make sure that you comply with that safety plan including digital attendance records, including keeping the COVID Safe hygiene measures in place," he said.
"We want businesses to survive, and indeed thrive, and but it can only be done in a COVID Safe way."
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant confirmed there were now 42 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster.
Dr Chant added there were five recent cases of people who reported spending time at the Stockland Mall at Wetherill Park while infectious, so she urged people who had visited that shopping centre over the last two weeks to be vigilant about symptoms.
The same is true of those who attended the Thai Rock Restaurant from July 10-14.
Updated at 12:01pm AEST on 17 July 2020.
Author: Matt Ogg