When SafeWork NSW inspectors visited Butchers Buffet on 11 September, they observed patrons accessing plates, condiments, serving utensils, bowls and trays of food as well as shared utensils on tables.
There was no safety marshal in place or stated limits on the maximum number of customers allowed on the premises. Chairs and tables were not adequately spaced, and CCTV footage showed patrons were not physically distancing when helping themselves at the buffet.
SafeWork NSW Director Work Health and Safety Metro, Sarina Wise, said these sorts of breaches defy logic.
“Self-serve buffets and pandemics simply don’t mix, creating a source of potentially contaminated items,” Ms Wise said.
“No self-serve buffet style food service areas are allowed including communal bar snacks and communal condiments.
“Sharing items on a buffet is clearly a direct line for COVID transmission.”
In addition to the risks posed by buffets, hospitality businesses across the board are being warned against complacency, as inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading this week issued 23 new fines for COVID breaches.
Inspectors from the three agencies reported a string of breaches relating to:
- Gaming machine spacing
- Spacing between tables and chairs
- Not having a COVID-19 Safety Plan
- Not being registered as COVID safe
“We’re calling on the public to hold businesses to account; if you visit a venue and find yourself back to back or shoulder to shoulder with other patrons, if you see poor hygiene or no sign in processes, report it via the COVID safety feedback portal on nsw.gov.au,” Ms Wise said.
The following businesses were fined this week:
- Albion Hotel – Parramatta
- Ashfield Bowling Club - Ashfield
- Butchers Buffet – Strathfield
- Cafe on Monash – Gladesville
- Commercial Hotel – Kingsgrove
- Collector Hotel – Parramatta
- Crown Hotel – Parramatta
- Erciyes Turkish Restaurant – Redfern
- General Bourke – Parramatta
- Glasgow Arms Hotel – Ultimo
- Indian Leaf – Redfern
- La Famiglia Ristorante & Pizzeria – Jindabyne
- Lotus Barangaroo – Barangaroo
- Maya Da Dhaba – Redfern
- Mohr Fish – St Ives
- Oscars Sports Hotel - Bankstown
- Rosehill Hotel – Rosehill
- Royal Hotel – Darlington
- Ship Inn – Sydney
- Southern Cross Hotel – St Peters
- St Jude Café – Redfern
- Thredbo Alpine Hotel
- Zushi Restaurant – Barangaroo
To date, hospitality businesses have been dealt 150 fines totalling $658,000.
More than 84,000 NSW businesses have now registered as COVID safe.
Any member of the public can comment on any NSW business and how it is managing COVID safety on the NSW Government website.