THE Oxford Hotel has been slapped with a $5000 fine for failing to comply with the NSW Government's COVID-19 Public Health Orders.
Chifley Police District Superintendent Peter O'Brien said the hotel's licensee was issued with an infringement notice on Saturday night after two warnings from police.
Supt O'Brien said police became aware of a breach of the COVID-19 Public Health Orders through social media after an excessive number of patrons were seen dancing within the premises of the Oxford Hotel.
He said officers spoke with the licensee on February 26 and informed him of his obligations under the NSW Government's Public Health Order.
"The licensee was again spoken to later on February 26, 2021 by police and again reminded of his obligations under the same order," Supt O'Brien said.
"Then later on the evening of February 26, police observed a mosh pit-style gathering in front of the DJ area of the premises. The breach was recorded by police wearing body-worn video.
"As a result licensee was issued with a Fail to Comply Notice Direction COVID-19 Corporation, which carries a fined in excess of $5000."
Supt O'Brien said it was deeply worrying people were not being responsible, especially a corporate entity.
"Corporate citizens, collectively, have to date been excellent," he said.
"However, on this occasion, it was not the case.
"Public Health Orders are in place to protect everyone, they have been put in for very valid reasons; to stop and restrict the spread of COVID-19.
"Especially on a weekend where there are visitors from out of town in the city."
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In response, The Oxford licensee Ash Lyons said the health orders in place were "as clear as muddy water" and "open to the interpretation of each officer who is enforcing it".
Mr Lyons said he has read the condensed version of the orders at least 30 times and the full 35-page order a number of times but "there is a lot of stuff not mentioned".
"They [police] point the finger and say you can't do this but when you look at the order, it's not in there. It's so grey," he said.
"The health orders were written so quickly and have changed so rapidly, no one knows what is current."
Mr Lyons said his understanding was it is not illegal to dance, but it is illegal to dance as a mob.
He said on Saturday night patrons were dancing and having a good time in the beer garden when the police determined that to be a breach of the order.
"It's Footloose (the movie where dancing was banned) all over again," he said.
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