The courts have sent a strong message to the hospitality industry to ensure their businesses are COVID compliant after a Liverpool restaurant owner was fined $11,000 for failing to do so.
Inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW visited the Chennai Kitchen restaurant, take-away and catering business on 4 November 2020 and observed breaches of several requirements of Public Health Orders relating to COVID-19 including:
- no QR code or sign-in sheet for patrons;
- an out-of-date safety plan; and
- a lack of spacing between the table and chair arrangements.
The owner, Mr Anagan Babu Ramia Janardhanan, was fined $1,000 for breaches of s10 of the Public Health Act 2010 at the time but elected to have the matter heard in court.
On Monday 29 March, he pleaded guilty and received an $11,000 fine in Downing Centre Local Court.
The Court noted the seriousness of the offences and the importance of businesses complying with COVID-19 Safety Plans and keeping up to date with Public Health Orders requirements designed to help keep NSW safe.
Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres said this is a timely reminder for businesses to remain vigilant as inspectors are still out checking COVID compliance, even though many restrictions have been lifted.
“The $11,000 fine and conviction against the owner in this case is all because the restaurant failed to maintain COVID safety standards that are designed to protect the community they are working in,” Mr Argeres said.
“The majority of clusters in NSW have centred around hospitality venues because of the ease with which the COVID virus can spread in enclosed indoor areas, so it is vital restaurants continue to stay COVID safe.
“There have been some changes and businesses must stay up-to-date. But what has not changed is having robust, digital check in processes that allows for effective contact tracing in the event a positive case has visited the venue.