One venue shuts, another warned after a busy Friday night in Darwin’s pubs
A Darwin pub has been issued a warning by Northern Territory Police for failing to comply with coronavirus regulations on Friday night, while another voluntarily shut its doors after being “overwhelmed” by patrons.
Northern Territory pubs, bars and restaurants are open to the public under the proviso customers stay for a maximum of two hours and adhere to physical distancing, a 10-patron table limit is enforced, and that meals are served with alcohol.
NT Police Acting Commander Shaun Gill said the warning issued to the Darwin premises was “in relation to service of alcohol without meals”.
Police said the other venue, which closed its own doors, was not at fault and did “a very good job” after “a large crowd on very short notice” attended the premises.
“The one that was really busy actually had a plan in place … [but] they were unable to deal with the public due to the number of people that arrived”, Acting Commander Gill said.
“To their credit they actually closed their doors and no longer served because they couldn’t abide by the COVID-19 restrictions.”
Police said the rather than issue the venue with a warning, officers “offered some education” on how it could comply with operating
Despite the two separate instances Acting Commander Gill said “the public were fairly good and the numbers were fairly low” across the evening in Darwin.
Police did not disclose the name of either of the venues, but said they may be named if problems persisted.
No venues have received a fine for breaching coronavirus safety regulations since stage two restriction easing commenced in the Northern Territory on May 15.
Acting Commander Gill said NT Police would continue to take a conciliatory approach with businesses and venues in the early phases of restriction easing before dishing out fines.
“We want to give some education to start with and then we want to give [venues] some warning,” he said.
Reporting by Steve Vivian