Wollongong's Harp Hotel has been fined for breaching COVID regulations, just three months after police had to visit when nearby residents complained the venue was breaking the rules.
Police slugged the Corrimal Street hotel with a $5000 fine over alleged incidents over the October long weekend, following an operation by licencing police.
Southern Region Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Dean Smith suggested other venues could be hit with fines from that operation.
READ MORE: NSW COVID numbers outpacing Victoria's
About 11.30pm on October 2, licensing police from Wollongong Police District visited the hotel as part of a regional police operation targeting licensed venues.
The licencing police allegedly spotted large groups of people congregating, hugging and dancing.
Police said no COVID safety marshals were observed to be enforcing physical distancing requirements or the venue's COVID safety plan.
Commander Smith said Operation Pariac was in operation over the long weekend and will continue through summer.
"Over that long weekend there have been a number of infringements issued, there have been an number of investigations commenced to make sure that we get to the bottom of what has happened," he said.
"But I have to say generally the behaviour of the crowds has been very well-received and we work closely with our licenced premises."
Wollongong Police District Commander, Superintendent Evan Quarmby said venues and patrons have had plenty of time to understand the COVID rules and it was now time to enforce those rules.
"We have been through the education and engagement phase, and we will not hesitate to move into enforcement for those who leave us with no alternative," he said.
"When we launched Operation Summer Safe last month, we made it clear to the community that during the warmer months it will not be business as usual.
"The safety of the community is paramount, and we will continue to take action against those businesses that choose to ignore ministerial directions."
In July this year nearby residents complained to police about large numbers of patrons queueing up outside the Harp Hotel, ignoring social distancing rules.
A neighbour of the hotel told the Mercury said he had seen "scores of people lining up on weekend nights" to enter the hotel over past few weeks and had seen patrons not social distancing.
Wollongong Police District attended the hotel to conduct safety inspections on Friday and Saturday night.
A NSW Police spokeswoman said, on arrival, licensing police found the venue was complying with their COVID-safety plan and were in the process of evicting a number of people who were not abiding by social distancing requirements.
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