From Tuesday people the Crown Hotel says it will be open for up to 50 people at a time to enjoy its facilities, despite some confusion over new COVID-19 rules. Photo Jempire Events
From Tuesday people the Crown Hotel says it will be open for up to 50 people at a time to enjoy its facilities, despite some confusion over new COVID-19 rules. Photo Jempire Events

Confusion over COVID rule change for pubs and clubs

GRAFTON publicans have scrambled to clear up confusion over changes to regulations allowing them to have 50 patrons on their premises from Monday.

Several hoteliers The Daily Examiner contacted yesterday said there was confusion between advice they received from the Australian Hotels Association and Coffs Clarence Licensing Police at Grafton Liquor Accord meeting yesterday.

RELATED ARTICLE: Police aim for education, compliance from pubs and clubs

The licensee at the Jacaranda Hotel, Narelle Want and the hotel manager at the Crown Hotel, Shane Masters, said police had given them conflicting information.

She said police told them the AHA information was not correct and hotels should limit the number of patrons to 10 people at a time who must be served meals.

Mr Masters corroborated Ms Want’s account, but was sure the police did not have the latest information.

“Dad (publican Gordon Masters), is the AHA delegate and he was sure they had it wrong,” Mr Masters said.

“He got straight onto the AHA and ClubsNSW and they confirmed the latest State Government advice was hotels and club could open for 50 patrons at a time, as long as they could conform to the 1.5m and 4 sqm social distancing regulations.”

Mr Masters said the hotel would open at least one bar for the first time since the shutdown on Tuesday for up to 50 people.

“We’re won’t be ready to open on Monday,” he said. “We’ve been doing a few things so we’re going to work over the weekend and Monday to be fully ready.”

Mr Masters said extra hotel staff would be employed at the door to take the names, addresses and phone numbers of every patron and to ensure the kept numbers to 50 or less.

“We’re required to do that because the COVIDSafe app is not foolproof,” he said. “We don’t know if people have it, or they could just turn off their Bluetooth and it won’t work.”

He was seeking clarification from authorities about the possibility of opening two bars at the hotel and doubling the 50 limit.

“If we can do that we have two sections of the hotel open and with the 4 sqm rule I think we could have up to 90 people at a time,” he said.

Mr Masters said the hotel would open on Tuesdays to Saturdays. The hotel will close at 6pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and stay open until later on Friday and Saturday.

The possible change of regulations has caught at least one hotel short.

At the Grafton Hotel, Steve Smith said renovations were in full swing and the hotel would not reopen until after the June Long Weekend.

“I think a lot of people thought we’d be closed down for a fair bit longer,” Mr Smith said.


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