Dominic Perrottet has narrowly avoided a fine after being accused of breaking his own rules on the first day after lockdown, when he was pictured standing while drinking a beer.
The newly-appointed NSW premier and his deputy Paul Toole were pictured at Watson’s pub in Sydney’s Moore Park, drinking beers in apparent contravention of health regulations which state that ‘you must be seated while drinking alcohol’.
The two were ridiculed by some picky members of the public for seeming to break the rules just hours after lockdown restrictions were lifted, prompting NSW Police to address the incident.
‘Compliance with Covid-19 restrictions within a venue are the responsibility of the business owner/manager,’ police said in a statement.
‘In this instance, which was an organised media event before the venue opened to patrons, police have applied discretion.
‘Officers from Surry Hills Police Area Command have since spoken with the licensee and reminded him of his obligations under the Public Health Act.’
The publican will also avoid punishment, with him facing a fine of up to $5,000.
The pub was shut at the time, with no customers inside, and the premier was there as part of a media photo call.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (right) and Deputy Premier Paul Toole drink a beer on Freedom Day in Sydney. NSW Police confirmed they will avoid fines for seemingly breaking the rules
Health regulations which state that ‘you must be seated while drinking alcohol ‘ in New South Wales as the state exits lockdown (pictured: Sydneysiders enjoying a drink in Sydney)
The photo-op occurred a day after he blasted himself in the face with beer while attempting to change a keg.
Though Labor-leaning bloggers accused the premier of failing ‘to read his own public health orders’, a spokeswoman for the premier said ‘we don’t believe’ Mr Perrottet broke the law.
‘He took a sip for a picture opportunity. The pub was not open, it was a staged media opportunity,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
Mr Perrottet, who earlier on Freedom Day got his first haircut in months, had a positive message for customers returning to bars this week.
‘There will be many young people pulling beers today … who will be doing this for the first time and adjusting to the new system,’ he said.
‘So please be patient and look out for them as we move through this period of time.’
Dominic Perrottet blasted himself in the face with beer while attempting to change a keg as Sydney prepared to break out of lockdown on Sunday
The Labor Party also had mixed fortunes with alcohol on Monday, with federal leader Anthony Albanese waiting until he was seated before drinking his beer at Willie the Boatman craft brewery in St Peters, Sydney.
But one of his colleagues, Greenway MP Michelle Rowland, posted a picture to her Instagram account of her having a drink while standing. The Labor bloggers overlooked this, though.
‘What a way to kick off Freedom Week, with the first beer at the Worker’s Club right at opening time this morning,’ she said.
‘It has been a tough 106 days to say the least; for businesses, frontline workers, and cherished establishments like The Worker’s Club in Blacktown.’
Ms Rowland added that while western Sydney had been through tough times during lockdown, ‘places like these are the reason we can open back up again’.
Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese shows how it’s done – wait until you sit down to drink your beer
Was federal Labor MP Michelle Rowland breaking the law by seeming to have had a drink while standing up?
None of this, however, compares to what happened to Mr Perrottet on Sunday.
The father-of-six found himself in an embarrassing moment as he attempted to turn the coupler handle at the top of the keg, with beer spraying up into his face with staff desperately moving to help the damp premier.
He was at the Marsden Brewhouse alongside NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, rolling kegs into a cool room.
Mr Perrottet attempted to turn the coupler handle before it sprayed him in the face, awkwardly standing up before trying again, as more beer sprayed around the cool room.
An employee then stepped in to help the Liberal leader, before he later spoke to reporters.
‘Everyone across NSW, you’ve earned it. It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and no beers,’ he said.
The new premier attempted to turn the coupler handle before it sprayed him in the face. Mr Perrottet awkwardly stood up before trying again, as more beer sprayed around the cool room
Revised roadmap to freedom: All the changes for fully vaccinated NSW residents after hitting 70% jab target
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s revised freedom plan will kick off on Monday, October 11
Gatherings in the home and public spaces
· Up to ten visitors will be allowed in a home where all adults are vaccinated (not including children 12 and under).
· Up to 30 people can gather in outdoor settings.
Venues including hospitality, retail stores and gyms
· Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.
· Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule (unvaccinated people will continue to only be able to access critical retail).
· Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sqm, capped at five clients per premises.
· Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
· Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.
Stadiums, theatres and major outdoor recreation facilities
· Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people.
· Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.
· Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.
· Indoor swimming pools open for lessons, squad training, lap swimming and rehab activities only
Weddings, funerals and places of worship
· Up to 100 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
· Up to 100 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.
· For those not fully vaccinated lower caps of 5 and ten apply for weddings and funerals.
· Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with performers exempt from ban on singing.
· Ten person cap on choirs in places of worship and at religious services, with all performers to be fully vaccinated
· The 5km radius will be dropped but Sydneysiders can only travel within greater Sydney – including the Central Coast, Wollongong and Blue Mountains.
· Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.
· Carpooling will be permitted.
Non-vaccinated young people aged under 16 will be able to access all outdoor settings but will only be able to visit indoor venues with members of their household.
Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so.
There will be revised guidance on isolation for close and casual contacts who are fully vaccinated, with details to be provided closer to the reopening date.
· Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes and at airports.
· Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask when outdoors.
· Children aged under 12 will not need to wear a mask indoors.