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Saturday, April 17, 2021

First Canberra restaurant fined $5000 for COVID-19 breach

Despite a number of prior warnings, a Canberra restaurant has been fined $5,000 after “brazenly flouting” COVID-19 restrictions, the first fine issued by ACT Policing as part of the Territory’s COVID-19 response.

ABC Canberra has reported the restaurant involved is Charcoal Restaurant in Civic; however, when Canberra Weekly contacted ACT Policing, they refused to name the restaurant or confirm the report.

The venue is limited to 12 patrons under current social distancing rules; however, 20 diners were present at the establishment when ACT Policing officers attended on Friday night 17 July.

The restaurant had received a number of prior warnings to comply with the agreed patron limit displayed at the entrance to the venue. Current COVID-19 restrictions permit one person per four square metres for seated spaces.

Detective Superintendent Jason Kennedy, Commander of the ACT Policing COVID-19 Taskforce, said it was everybody’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the health directions.

“The guidelines are clear and ACT Policing will continue to take all necessary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes taking stronger enforcement action for intentional and flagrant breaches,” Superintendent Kennedy said.

“The majority of people and businesses are doing the right thing despite the disruption to everyday life. With everyone doing it tough, it’s so disappointing when we see a business putting the broader community at risk by brazenly flouting the restrictions.

“ACT Policing and the ACT Government had engaged with this business on a number of occasions to help support it meet the health directions but our advice was not being listened to or actioned.

“These rules are in place for a reason and ACT Policing will continue to work with ACT Health and Access Canberra to ensure business compliance. I would like to thank all the businesses that continue to do the right thing. I know the whole community is grateful for the care and consideration you are taking for their safety.”

For all general enquiries – including to make a report of non-compliance of public health directions with referrals to ACT Health Protection Services, ACT Policing or Access Canberra Fair Trading – you can contact the COVID-19 Helpline on 6207 7244 (8am-8pm 7 days a week) or online form available here. For police assistance, call 131 444 and only contact Triple Zero for emergencies.

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