Liquor & Gaming has forced the seven-day closure of Balmain’s Unity Hall Hotel following repeated breaches of the Public Health Order.

The pub has now been fined a total of $10,000 by authorities over two occasions. Government has warned from the outset that repeated breaches could mean temporary closure orders for venues.

According to L&G the pub had hosted two private parties without following mandated requirements, including the 10-person limit on bookings.

During an inspection on 5 August inspectors found an outdated COVID-19 Safety Plan, an inadequate sign-in process and lack of proper distancing between tables. On 7 August the hotel was fined $5,000 for the offences.

Police returned on 8 August after receiving a tip-off from a member of the public, finding a private function of 32 guests dancing and mingling and not seated while consuming alcohol.

The Unity was fined another $5,000, and police referred the matter to Liquor & Gaming. Inspectors reviewed CCTV footage, which corroborated the police findings.

“People in large groups who are known to each other are far more likely to mingle – including by dancing – and this increases the risk of transmission,” said Dimitri Argeres, L&G director of compliance.

“Each person brings with them a history of interaction with others in the community, which means the more people in a group, the more close contacts they are sharing across that group.

“To repeatedly not comply with the Public Health Orders poses a clear and significant risk to public health.”

The Unity Hall Hotel was purchased late 2019 by publicans Geoff Roddy and John McRedmond for around $20 million.

The operators responded humbly on social media to the news of the closure, citing recent implementation of “a number of procedures that go above and beyond” what is expected of pubs.

“The standards required of the hotel by the Health Authorities are very high, but we recognise that the consequences of this virus are severe and are not to be taken lightly.

“We apologise unreservedly to our patrons and the wider community, and we look forward to providing a safe place for you in the future.”

Meanwhile, following a visit by L&G inspectors on 29 August, the Bondi Bowling Club has taken over the title of “worst venue to date” for its breaches of coronavirus rules and received a $10,000 fine. It takes the title away from other Balmain local the Garry Owen Hotel, which stunned inspectors in early August.

In coordination with Service NSW, Liquor & Gaming, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading have so far issued a total of 108 fines to hospitality businesses in NSW totalling $480,000.


  1. Andrew (Will) Barling

    How about these idiots start apologising to the other Pulicans for bringing the whole industry down!
    Don’t they remember being closed for nearly twelve weeks??
    Short memories!

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