Inner West Independent

An expensive birthday for the Red Lion Hotel

The balcony at the Red Lion Hotel where 40 people gathered for a Birthday party. Photo: Facebook/Red Lion Hotel

A complaint about a birthday party at the Red Lion Hotel in Rozelle has resulted in the venue being hit with a $10,000 fine.

Liquor & Gaming inspectors inspected the pub on 15 August after receiving complaints about a birthday party on the 2nd of August. Around 40 patrons booked to be seated on the upstairs balcony were seen mingling and drinking, in breach of public health orders.

The group made a booking in four groups of 10, and when police visited the venue to check compliance all guests were seated at their booked tables. However after a review of the CCTV footage inspectors observed guests moving between tables, mingling, standing while drinking and greeting each other with hugs and handshakes.

Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance, Dimitri Argeres said the venue was “clearly” trying to skirt the rules by splitting an illegally large group who all knew each other into smaller compliant groups.

“It’s these sorts of social get-togethers that can spark a cluster and, when it comes to events like birthday parties and weddings, we’ve seen how quickly people are tempted to forget the rules and throw caution to the wind,” he said.

“We expect hoteliers to set exemplary standards, particularly when it comes to managing the heightened risk presented by groups mingling.”

The Lewisham Hotel in Lewisham was also fined on Friday for not having a valid COVID-19 Safety Plan and not spacing gaming machines at least 1.5 metres apart.

“Whether we like it or not, the rules are there for a reason. Tighten up your operations and take it seriously,” Mr. Argeres warned.

To date, 68 fines have been issued to bars, cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs across the state. $304,000.

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