Australia

'Buffets and pandemics don't mix': Sydney restaurant fined for coronavirus breaches

More than 20 NSW venues have been fined for breaching COVID-19 rules in the past week. Source: SafeWork NSW

A Korean BBQ restaurant has been fined for having a self-serve buffet despite COVID-19 rules, with SafeWork NSW saying the breaches defy logic.

A Korean BBQ restaurant in Sydney's inner west has been fined for hosting an open buffet where diners shared crockery, cutlery and food in defiance of coronavirus rules.

Butchers Buffet has been fined $5,000 after SafeWork NSW inspectors visited the Strathfield restaurant on 11 September to find no safety marshal or stated limits on the number of people allowed in the venue.

Chairs and tables weren't spaced as needed, and CCTV footage showed diners weren't physically distancing when helping themselves at the buffet, according to SafeWork NSW.

The agency's director of metro work health and safety, Sarina Wise, said the breaches defied logic.

SafeWork NSW says self-serve buffets aren't allowed under coronavirus rules.
SafeWork NSW says self-serve buffets aren't allowed under coronavirus rules.
SafeWork NSW

"Self-serve buffets and pandemics simply don't mix, creating a source of potentially contaminated items," Ms Wise said in a statement.

"No self-serve buffet style food service areas are allowed including communal bar snacks and communal condiments.

"Sharing items on a buffet is clearly a direct line for COVID transmission."

Venues have been warned against coronavirus complacency, as inspectors from three NSW agencies this week issued 23 fines.

The breaches related to the spacing of gaming machines, tables and chairs, not having COVID-19 safety plans or being registered as COVID-safe.

Other NSW businesses fined in the past week include Ashfield Bowling Club, the Crown, Collector and Albion hotels in Parramatta, Southern Cross Hotel in St Peters, Thredbo Alpine Hotel and La Famiglia Ristorante & Pizzeria in Jindabyne.

Ms Wise called on the public to hold businesses to account and report poor spacing, hygiene or sign-in processes.

It comes as NSW recorded just one locally-acquired new coronavirus case on Saturday and two cases from returned travellers in quarantine.

However, a major contact tracing operation is underway after a COVID-19-positive taxi driver worked for 10 days while potentially infectious.

The man's taxi trips spanned the suburbs of Moorebank, Bankstown, Chipping Norton, Liverpool, Lidcombe, Warwick Farm and Milperra, with anyone who entered his taxi between 8-18 September advised to monitor for symptoms.

With reporting by Australian Associated Press.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://sbs.com.au/coronavirus

 

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