A Western Sydney wedding venue has copped a $5,000 fine for having up to 700 people attend, breaching COVID-19 event restrictions.
Under the one-person-per-four-square-metres indoor requirements, Paradiso Receptions was only allowed to host 350 people, but a wedding over the first weekend of January saw at least double that number.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott told ABC News he was furious over the “blatant” breach of restrictions.
“It has infuriated me. It’s not the way I wanted to spend my Monday morning, I can assure you,” Elliott said last week.
“I cannot believe that any sound person in this state in 2021 doesn’t understand what their obligations are.
“This wasn’t a dozen people turning up to Christmas lunch unannounced – this was twice the amount of people that were allowed to attend this venue.”
Police were called to the Fairfield venue at about 9:30pm in the morning of Saturday 2 January after concerns were raised over the number of guests at a wedding.
Officers spoke to the venue operator after observing a large group of people at the location and told him a number of guests would need to leave.
The next day, the venue licensee was issued a $5,000 penalty infringement notice for breaching a public health order.
Last year, Paradiso Receptions owner Steve Naamo told ABC News in an interview that the venue typically hosted large “multicultural” weddings of more than 700 people.
Naamo said he had never seen such dire business in 30 years and that operating to the limit at the time (150 attendees) was not feasible.
“The actual cost of the operation isn’t doable when there’s a 150 cap for these big venues,” he told ABC News in August.
“Customers don’t want to cut down their guest list by 75 per cent, then have to pay a tonne more per head.”
“Our business is emotional. It’s not just like buying a car – a wedding is the biggest event of their lives. So, we’re devastated we can’t give them that celebration.”
The Nibbler has approached Paradiso Receptions for comment.
Featured image source: Paradiso Receptions