COVID-19 COMPLIANCE AND REGULATORY UPDATE
New Public Health Order and Safety Plan
As advised, a new Public Health Order and Safety Plan are now in place. Venues should ensure that the new Safety Plan is completed and lodged online here and that this Plan is maintained in hard copy form at the venue.
The key changes to the Order and Safety Plan are summarised below.
Corporate Events and Functions
We confirm our previous advice that a “corporate event” is defined in the current Public Health Order (PHO) as:
- an “event, hospitality or social activity”
- which is “organised, held or funded by a business or other organisation for staff, clients or stakeholders”; and
- is held on “premises that are a function centre”.
Corporate events now have a 300 person maximum capacity, subject to the one person per 4 square metres rule. This has increased from 150 persons under the previous Public Health Order.
Aside from the general social distancing and hygiene requirements (including 10 person maximum per table), the corporate event:
- must be held in a function centre, which can be a designated separate area of a hospitality premises (such as a pub, club or restaurant) that would at normal times be capable of hosting a function
- Requires separate Covid Safety Plans that are specific for the event in addition to the current Pubs Safety Plan (e.g. Corporate Events Safety Plan, Function Centre Safety Plan, Wedding Reception Safety Plan, Funeral/Wake Safety Plan). It is noted that these plans are substantially similar in form but it is still important that separate copies of the required plans are maintained.
- Requires that food and drink service for the event is provided only by staff restricted to the separate area; and
- Requires that patrons attending the event are not to mingle with patrons outside of the function area.
Under this current framework, venues can take bookings for a range of corporate events, for example staff/business Christmas functions or Melbourne Cup luncheons hosted or organised by a business or other organisation.
Clarification on Games of Pool and Darts
The new Order now clarifies that the requirement for patrons to be seated as far as practicable does not apply in relation to persons who:
(a) Are playing a game, such as pool or darts, that requires them to stand, and
(b) Are not drinking alcohol.
We urge members to maintain particular vigilance and supervision around the playing of games such as pool and darts to ensure patrons are not permitted to consume alcohol while standing, and are only standing for the purposes of playing the game.
Physical Distancing and Gaming Rooms
The new Safety Plan now states as follows:
Ensure gaming machines and gaming tables are spaced out to ensure 1.5 metres physical distance between players, where practical. (emphasis added)
This replaces the most recent wording in the Safety Plan which stated ‘’Ensure 1.5 metres between gaming machines”, where practical. (emphasis added)
As previously advised, we are aware many venues have recently been advised by inspectors and other enforcement officers that the 1.5 metre measurement is to be taken from the edge of one gaming machine to the edge of the next gaming machine.
The above amendment now clarifies (and re-adopts the original Safety Plan wording relied upon by many members) that venues are to ensure a minimum distance of 1.5 metres between patrons playing gaming machines, as opposed to measuring the distance between the edges of two machines.
Any business found in breach of the Public Health Orders will be held to account and could face a penalty of up to $55,000. A further $27,500 penalty may apply for each day an offence continues. On the spot fines can also be issued.
Liquor and Gaming NSW also have the power to enforce the following penalties:
- FIRST OFFENCE: $5,500 fine or relevant penalty for breach of the Public Health Order.
- SECOND OFFENCE: Business will be closed for one week.
- THIRD OFFENCE (repeated and wilful non-compliance): Business will be closed for up to one month.
Conditions of Entry/Recording of Patron Details Templates
You are required to display the conditions of entry as stipulated in the checklist on public platforms, such as your website, social platforms and at the hotel entrance.
Please click here for a template condition of entry document to assist in this regard.
Can patrons order food and beverages at the bar?
Appropriate floor markings and signage should be in place to assist with minimising congestion.
Table service is not mandatory.
Similarly, where appropriate spacing and social distancing allows, patrons may be seated and served at the bar (as long as this does not create any congestion or unnecessary queueing).
Can patrons stand and drink ?
No. Alcohol can only be consumed by customers whilst seated
Do patrons need to order a meal as a condition of entry?
No, but food of a nature and quality consistent with the responsible service of alcohol must be made available at all times liquor is sold in the premises (as is always generally required under the NSW Liquor Act).
Can customers use a buzzer for food orders ?
Yes. But they should be cleaned between customers with a detergent or disinfectant solution or wipe
Is there any time limit on patron attendance?
Can patrons access outdoor smoking areas?
Yes. Venues are however encouraged to provide appropriate signage and seating where possible in outdoor smoking areas to encourage 1.5 metre social distancing.
Can venues offer meat raffles/badge draws/live entertainment?
Yes. Dance floors are not however permitted to operate at this point. Solo singers should maintain at least 3 metres physical distance from other people whilst singing.
Can I operate TAB and Keno facilities?
Yes, but regular cleaning of high touch surfaces such as EBTs should be ensured and appropriate spacing encouraged when patrons are queuing for these facilities.
Statement of Regulatory Intent
Click HERE to view the updated State of Regulatory Intent issues by Liquor & Gaming NSW.