Regional venues face fines for serving Melbournian...

Regional venues face fines for serving Melbournians

From midnight on 12 October hospitality businesses in regional Victoria must take reasonable steps to confirm a customer is not from Melbourne before allowing them to sit down in their premises, with venues facing fines for serving Melbournians.

Businesses are warned they could face fines of up to $9,913 for failing to check if customers are from metropolitan Melbourne by requesting photo ID.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews admitted the new rule would be “confronting and difficult”, with the strict measures aiming to prevent an outbreak like the one that occurred in Kilmore earlier this month.

Under the directions, people who don’t comply could also be taken to court and receive a fine of up to $20,000. Companies face fines of up to $100,000.

“We know regional businesses are doing everything they can to keep their community safe — and now we’re giving them the confidence to check that their customers are not breaking Chief Health Officer directions,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.

Venues can accept a signed written form from customers who do not have photo ID or who have photo ID that does not match their ordinary residence or principle residence, covering those Melbournians who have been residing in regional areas since the first lockdown and are therefore allowed to dine-in at restaurants and cafés.

Business owners must refuse bookings and seated service to people who reside in metropolitan Melbourne, even if they are in regional Victoria for a permitted purpose. If a customer is in regional Melbourne for a permitted purpose, they can order take-away or delivery. Long-haul drivers can dine in dedicated sections of highway cafés and truck stops.

Business owners are concerned by the large fines, considering many are already struggling to stay afloat as a result of the pandemic. However, businesses that adhere to checking ID but are misled by customers will not be fined.

Individuals who deliberately ignore restrictions risk receiving a $1,652 fine, while Melbournians who are found in regional Victoria without a valid reason face fines of up to $4,957.

The state of emergency and the state of disaster in Victoria has been extended from 11:59pm on 11 October 2020 until 11:59pm on 8 November.

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