As Sydney struggles to bring its latest virus outbreak under control and enforce tough lockdown regulations, nine businesses in the famous beachside suburb of Bondi have been banned from selling takeaway liquor for seven days due to public health order concerns.
Dimitri Argeres of the NSW Department of Customer Service said the popular activity of selling cocktails to people to drink nearby, or as they walked to the next ‘bar’ in the area, was encouraging the community to breach public health orders and had to stop.
“We’ve taken this action in response to concerns raised by the police and the community about drinks – such as margarita cocktails in disposable cups – being sold in multiple bars along Bondi Beach,” Argeres explained.
“While it is understandable [that] hospitality businesses are trying to maximise business during these hard times, this activity doesn’t pass the ‘pub test’ as it results in patron crowding, congestion and a lack of social distancing.”
Businesses must be aware of the impact they have
According to the department, businesses must be aware of the effect their goods and services have on the community and on the public health orders in place to combat the pandemic.
“It’s not appropriate for this type of risky activity to continue, given all our efforts and the sacrifices being made across Greater Sydney to reduce the community transmission of the Delta variant,” Argares said.
“What is appropriate is a stop of these takeaway alcohol sales for a week in Bondi to allow those businesses and the local community a necessary reset.”
The order, issued in terms of the Liquor Act, prohibits takeaway sales of liquor directly from the nine venues, excluding home delivery, for seven days.
Failure to comply carries a penalty of up to $11,000
The businesses subject to the order are: Bondi Rumba; Bondi Tony’s Burger Joint; TAQIZA; Italo House; Speakeasy; Neighbourhood; Bondi Liquor Co; Fonda Mexican; and North Bondi Fish.
Failure to comply with the direction issued by the Department of Department of Customer Service carries a penalty of up to $11,000.
Clearly, some of the businesses have been concerned for a while that action may be taken against them.
In a Facebook post in late July, Bondi Tony’s Burger Joint noted: “Hey lovely people. We gotta chill on the walking around the streets drinking. We are all on the verge of losing our licences (that have generously been granted to serve booze in cups for takeaway). But that’s all about to end if you’re walking venue-to-venue getting smashed. It’s fun I know, but causing a lot of issues.”