“All hotels have a responsibility to manage inside and also outside their hotel to ensure social distancing,” Mr Green said.
“It’s appropriate this hotel has taken immediate steps to prevent a repeat of these queues, including extra security outside to manage patrons … We need to do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements must be complied with.”
Fewer than 10 NSW businesses have been fined for breaching COVID-19 restrictions since the pandemic began, but Ms Berejiklian on Wednesday said she was concerned about the lack of compliance at some restaurants, pubs and cafes.
The image of dozens of people queuing outside the Double Bay pub about 9pm Wednesday was first shared on social media website Reddit, spurring concerns that social distancing guidelines weren’t being properly followed.
Wednesday nights are one of the venue’s most popular events but Justine Baker, chief executive of the Solotel Group which operates the Sheaf, said it had not offered discount drink promotions since the start of the pandemic despite rumours on social media.
She said all Solotel venues were practising strict social distancing and COVID-safe procedures. “We abide by NSW Health Guidelines throughout all of our venues, including the Golden Sheaf. All of our staff are inducted into the new COVID hygiene practices,” she said.
“We take the safety of our guests and staff very seriously, which is why we will now be taking
bookings only on Wednesday nights from 8pm and we will be employing extra staff and security to ensure social distancing is adhered to and we have a maximum of 20 people in our queues at any one time.”
Local federal MP Dave Sharma said the images showed “incredibly irresponsible behaviour, on behalf of the pub and the patrons”.
He said the Victorian outbreak had shown that the virus “can resurge easily”. “Social distancing and other health measures need to remain in place, or we risk a similar outbreak in Sydney,” he said.
Ms Baker said safety was a collective responsibility of all staff, guests, operators and authorities.
“We employ management and security staff to monitor queues constantly – at the Golden Sheaf last night we worked immediately with police to disperse the crowd and ensure social distancing measures were established,” she said.
With Mary Ward and Dana McCauley
Natassia is the education reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.