Star Casino Fined For Overcrowding in Sydney
It was reported by the New South Wales government on Monday that The Star Casino has been fined $5000 for breaching public health orders designed to mitigate COVID-19. A positive case of COVID-19 was reported by a guest at the Pyrmont, Sydney venue as authorities rush to slow down the spread and break-up clusters through a variety of containment measures.
We reported last week that the Star Casino is reopening with a series of restrictions in place to protect guests from COVID-19 infection. It appears today that the terms of reopening that New South Wales health authorities submitted to Star Casino have not been properly fulfilled.
In the first days of the reopening, health authorities were reported to have visited the casino on three separate occasions, each time they provided advice on how the casino could better implement safer processes to ensure social-distancing between guests is observed. On the third visit, the inspectors are said to have witnessed serious breaches of the COVID-19 safety plan, with guests mingling en masse under the effect of alcohol.
It is clear that the casino has not fulfilled its obligations, and has failed to uphold its end of an agreement between businesses and health authorities to follow strict guidelines with the utmost seriousness. The consequence is there is now at least one positive COVID-19 case reported directly from the casino, and the operator has been hit with a $5000 fine.
All of this is fueling a vocal debate currently in Australia about whether it is wise to open gaming establishments at all in the current health climate. Clearly, they are not an essential business but have been given the license to operate under strict protocols where social-distancing between guests, contact tracing, and headcount limits must be observed at all times.
Health Authorities Send a Strong Message
The New South Wales Health organization is intending to send a strong message with this violation. It is vital that businesses continue to follow guidelines and fulfill their public safety obligations and ensure that all guests and local communities are protected from unnecessary risks related to the virus.
Whilst businesses have the primary obligation to maintain a safe environment in their venues, customers at these places also need to play their part. By following the specific guidelines at a venue, providing their contact details when asked, and reporting businesses that fail to adhere to the COVID-19 public health orders.
The majority of the public recognizes the need to take this advice seriously, and there is a sentiment growing in social-discourse that those who flout the health restrictions are behaving in a reprehensible manner. It is not just public shaming being used by health authorities to help drive home the seriousness of these measures, local law enforcement is increasingly being used to clamp down on violations of quarantine measures and public gatherings.
Sweeping new laws have been implemented in the past months across Australia in wake of widespread non-compliance with public health orders. Businesses can be issued fines of up to $55,000 and a daily fine of $27,000 can be accrued for each day offenses are recorded at an establishment. In the case of individuals violating the terms of the public health order, hefty fines of up to $11,000 can be issued, and for repeat or serious violations, a prison term of six months can be administered.
Star Casino at Pyrmont, Sydney Remains Open
The Pyrmont, Sydney Casino remains open and will review the failures of its COVID-19 health policies in an attempt to address the systematic failures that have occurred so far. The fact that a positive case has been traced back to the casino forced the casino to make an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange, which provided details regarding the time and date the guest who tested positive visited the venue.
Local police assistant commissioner Scott Cook has warned of a crackdown against pubs, clubs, and gaming venues that continue to fail adhering to the public safety measures. The time for warnings is over, and that is for the defense of the vulnerable people in the community.
The second spike in virus cases is certainly serving as a wake-up call for the gaming industry – with many venues operating close to normal capacity the danger of complacency will be a catalyst for virus outbreaks. With contact tracing a key strategy for fighting the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is vital casinos and customers work together to give health authorities the best chance possible in eliminating further outbreaks.