Mounties is one of the largest RSL clubs in the country, making nearly $47 million in profits on poker machines at its Mount Pritchard club last year and boasting more than 136,000 members across its network, according to the group’s 2019 annual report.
The other venue is the bistro area of the nearby Pritchard’s Hotel, between 7pm and 7.45pm on Thursday July 23.
On Monday Victoria recorded its highest daily total with 532 COVID-19 cases confirmed and a further six deaths.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd warned more people would die during Victoria’s second coronavirus wave.
“We know, with the number of infections we’ve seen today, that there will be further deaths in the days ahead,” Professor Kidd said.
On Monday morning, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant confirmed there were 17 new cases of COVID-19. She said it was critical for the community to adhere strictly to social distancing rules and avoid large, crowded gatherings.
“We’ve got to be aware that we could have transmission chains in other parts of the state that are not being detected at the current time,” she said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said workers, including aged-care workers, were driving the rise in cases in that state, and warned the six-week lockdown would not end “until people stop going to work with symptoms”.
“This is the biggest driver, it is not the only issue but it’s the biggest driver of these numbers going up not down,” he said on Monday.
Four Victorian cases have been linked to the neonatal intensive care unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital, including a baby, but the biggest concern remains in the aged-care sector with 683 active cases across 61 facilities.
Queensland reported no new cases on Monday, and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state’s health authorities were monitoring the situation in NSW closely.
“If there are outbreaks of community transmission or it cannot be sourced or there are clusters, we will not hesitate to declare hotspots — or we will not hesitate, if it gets out of control, to slam the border shut,” she said on Monday morning.
On Monday afternoon, The Apollo became the fourth Sydney restaurant and the second in the inner-city suburb forced to close in two days.
A spokesman for the 10-year-old restaurant confirmed they were working with NSW Health to ensure all relevant customers were contacted and told to self-isolate for 14 days and immediately seek testing.
“The ongoing health and safety of our customers, staff and local community is our top priority so the restaurant will remain closed for two weeks and undergo a deep cleaning,” the spokesman said.
The Apollo spokesman added the restaurant has been adhering to its COVIDSafe plan, which included reducing capacity, minimising interactions between staff and customers and providing disposable menus as well as conducting rigorous cleaning.
On Sunday, Thai Rock in Potts Point was forced to shut with one case of a diner testing positive last week, and another case involving an employee confirmed on Monday morning.
AN Restaurant in Bankstown and Tan Viet Noodle House in Cabramatta were also closed on Sunday after they were visited by a couple on the weekend who were later diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Thai Rock Potts Point cases have not been linked to the outbreak at the venue’s western Sydney sister restaurant, Thai Rock in Wetherill Park. That outbreak now includes 70 cases.
Dr Chant said that, while the Thai Rock case in Potts Point had not been linked to the large western Sydney cluster, NSW Health was investigating whether there had been a crossover of staff.
“These investigations are in an early phase; it’s important we don’t speculate. But we are exploring all avenues,” she said.
It comes as people from the NSW local government area of Fairfield, which includes the Wetherill Park Thai Rock restaurant, were no longer permitted to cross the Queensland border from 1am on Monday after it was declared a hotspot area by the Queensland government.
Ms Palaszczuk said she made no apologies for having “really tough measures at the border”.
“There will be delays at the border. I can’t do anything about that. There will be delays because we are protecting Queensland,” she said.
While none of the new cases confirmed in NSW on Monday were linked to the outbreaks at the Crossroads Hotel, in Casula in Sydney’s south-west, or Batemans Bay, four were linked to a funeral at St Brendan’s Catholic Church in Bankstown. One of those new funeral cases is a child and there are now nine cases linked to that cluster.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was important for people not to hug at weddings or funerals, noting these events have been shown to be the “seeding ground” for clusters.
“We know that funerals are a terribly emotional time for people. Please, unless it’s your immediate household, you cannot have physical contact whether it’s a wedding or a funeral,” she said.
Professor Kidd said that, so far in NSW, quick turnarounds with testing and a clear instruction for people to stay home if they were showing any symptoms or had been near anyone who had symptoms, were working to slow community transmission.
“We are seeing smaller numbers in NSW each day,” he said. “Each of those cases is being followed up very quickly, and their contacts are being followed up very quickly and being tested.”
NSW Health was treating 101 cases of COVID-19 as of 8pm on Sunday, and the number of patients in intensive care rose to five.
“Ninety per cent of cases being treated by NSW Health are in non-acute out-of-hospital care,” Dr Chant said.
NSW conducted 22,032 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, down from 25,139 in the previous reporting period.
Over the weekend, six South Coast venues were fined for breaching public health orders.
The Figtree Hotel was issued a $5000 fine after failing to enforce the COVID-19 safety plan at its venue at the weekend.
NSW Police said they observed a large number of patrons standing together and drinking in groups.
Dapto Pub was forced to close early on Saturday night as two patrons were arrested for offensive conduct, and the venue has since been fined $5000 for failing to comply with public health orders.
Four venues in nearby Gerringong: The Spruce Moose, Nardi’s, Stoic Brewing and The Hill Bar and Kitchen were all fined for various breaches including overcrowding, and not enforcing physical distancing.
With Toby Crockford
Rachel Clun is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Sumeyya is a state political reporter for The Age.