New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned police will “throw the book” at businesses caught flouting public health rules, as coronavirus clusters continue to emerge from venues across Sydney.
NSW recorded 16 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as authorities continue to track a cluster tied to a restaurant in Sydney’s west, raising new concerns about whether businesses are properly following COVID-19 safety rules.
Berejiklian said authorities are still unsatisfied with levels of compliance among businesses as the state prepares to make COVIDSafe business plans mandatory from Friday.
“You will be fined. Worse than that, if you breach again, you will be shut down,” the Premier said.
Over the past week, more than 80 cases have been tied to outbreaks at Sydney hospitality businesses, prompting officials to tighten regulations around COVIDSafe business plans.
From Friday, the self-regulatory approach to COVIDSafe plans in NSW will end and a mandatory scheme will come into effect.
Berejiklian raised the spectre of tighter trading restrictions if authorities could not be confident businesses across the state would comply with existing public health rules.
COVIDSafe plans require businesses to promise they will follow a range of hygiene, physical distancing and contract tracing regulations, depending on the industry they operate in.
Plans can be accessed online, but businesses must also register those plans with the state government.