Pub patrons will be under the watchful eye of police again on Friday night, in the latest move to control rowdy crowds during the coronavirus pandemic.
While pub and club owners had improved their management of COVID restrictions in recent weeks, patrons continued to flout the rules, prompting the joint initiative between Tasmania Police, WorkSafe Tasmania, and Liquor and Gaming.
At least six police officers will be tasked with supporting WorkSafe officers and Liquor and Gaming inspectors, by overseeing crowd behaviour throughout the CBD.
The operation will be in addition to Tasmania Police's regular weekend patrols.
While officers focus on patrons, WorkSafe Tasmania will focus on COVID-safe plans at each venue, and may issue improvement notices.
"Consequences for non-compliance will be determined by the officers at the time, based on the individual circumstances," a state government spokesman said.
"Liquor and Gaming inspectors will review compliance with the requirements of the Liquor Licencing Act 1990. A breach of the Act may result in disciplinary action."
Northern Commander Brett Smith said patrons lining up outside venues would be monitored by police, while social distancing inside venues would continue to be enforced.
It comes after an outbreak at a south-western Sydney pub left New South Wales on high alert, and the number of COVID cases in Victoria continues to grow.
As of Thursday, at least 34 cases had been linked to the NSW pub, and Victoria recorded 317 new cases, bringing its total to more than 4700 active cases.
"The last thing we want is for that to happen here," Commander Smith said.
"The situations in Victoria and New South Wales highlight the vulnerability we all face.
"We are encouraging the community to do the right thing, and in particular follow social distancing. We have found since we started patrolling pubs and clubs, the owners have been pretty good, so our emphasis will be on patron behaviour.
"People are not being as careful as they could be, and are being a little too carefree."
In other news:
As of June 26, gathering limits in the state increased to 500 people outdoors and 250 people indoors, with one person per two square metres allowed.
Minister for Small Business, Hospitality and Events Sarah Courtney said patrons not following the rules were putting venues at risk.
"The last thing we want in Tasmania is a second wave of coronavirus that will force businesses to close again, as there is no doubt that some businesses will not be able to reopen a second time," she said.
"Tasmanians have done an outstanding job managing the risk of coronavirus, however it is clear by what is happening right now in other states that the risk remains and we must continue to be vigilant and responsible.
"I would ask everyone to continue to show their support as we work towards getting the thousands of Tasmanians who have lost their jobs back to work and rebuilding our strong hospitality sector."
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