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Sydney club $10,000 fine over COVID19 breach


A club and function centre in Sydney's southwest has been slapped with fines totalling $10,000 after hosting a birthday party and christening in breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors visited the Croatian Club in Punchbowl on September 5 and saw about 50 guests at an 18th birthday party, some of whom were allegedly mingling and drinking while standing.

Records showed the party was booked for 75 guests, Liquor & Gaming NSW said in a statement on Sunday.

When inspectors revisited the venue on September 8, they discovered that the day after the birthday party, the club hosted a 75-person christening,

Liquor & Gaming NSW says the duty manager claimed it was too hard to cancel the christening so close to the event despite being told that a booking of that size was not allowed.

The club has been warned that it now risks closure if further breaches are detected.

"Big functions and large group bookings put people in the sort of close proximity that contributes to virus transmission, and a happy occasion can easily turn into a tragedy that directly impacts your nearest and dearest," Liquor & Gaming NSW compliance director Dimitri Argeres said.

The club was handed two fines totalling $10,000 for the alleged breaches.

More than 120 fines worth $552,000 have been handed to hospitality businesses for alleged COVID-19 breaches in NSW.

This includes two fines totalling $10,000 to the Whisky Tango Bar at Len Waters Estate.

When inspectors visited the bar in Sydney's southwest on September 5, they allegedly discovered several breaches including patron crowding exceeding the one person per four square metre rule and people standing and mingling while drinking.

"All of these issues are a recipe for transmission," Mr Argeres said,

"The majority of clusters in NSW have derived from hospitality venues because of the ease with which the COVID virus can spread in enclosed indoor areas where people are eating and drinking."

© AAP 2020

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