Star Sydney reopened its doors to patrons on June 1 and had things under control, at least until now. A person who visited the Star casino on July 4 has tested positive to Covid-19 and now authorities are in a race against time to trace contacts and contain clusters.
The patron visited the Star Sydney on Saturday, July 4, and spent around three hours in the casino from around 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm.
This is considered as such a high-risk case because the casino had recently been allowed to entertain up to 5,000 guests. A Covid-19 positive individual spending three hours on a busy Saturday night is as close to a worst case coronavirus scenario as it can possibly be.
Another factor that complicates things in the whole situation is the $5,000 fine the Star has had to pay for breaching public health orders. The Star Sydney was found guilty of overcrowding and allowing people to mingle and stand close to each other while also consuming alcohol.
Dimitri Argeres, who is the acting director of compliance for Liquor and Gaming NSW, said that the fine was handed out after the Star has already been informed and warned about its misconduct a couple of times before the fine was issued.
Liquor and Gaming officers visited the casino on two previous occasions in which they noticed that patrons weren’t adhering to public health orders as well as they should have. The inspectors informed the Star staff and management of their failings and asked them to address the issues as soon as possible.
However, in the third inspection of the venue, Mr. Argeres’ people noted that their advice hasn’t been heeded and also noticed some further breaches to safety protocols. As a result, they felt obliged to fine the casino for not adhering to the NSW Covid-19 safety plan with a $5,000 penalty.
Sending a Strong Message
Mr Argeres said that it is very important for the NSW government that businesses and patrons are both aware of managing the risks of visiting a casino. For example, an establishment that respects the safety protocols should always ensure that patrons are protected. Similarly, patrons should also take responsibility for their actions and respect the protocols that a casino venue has put in place.
If this is not the case, casino venues might have to pay up to $55,000 in fines and an additional penalty of $27,500 for each day in which the offence is not addressed. Individual players, on the other hand, might have to pay up to $11,000 and could also face a six-month prison sentence.
Compared to those fines, the $5,000 penalty the Star has had to pay is quite low. However, this doesn’t mean that the Star Sydney has taken this matter lightly. In fact, their staff is working closely with NSW Health authorities to trace all the contacts of the Covid-19 positive individual and is trying to minimize the damage that has been done.
A Known Cluster
From what authorities have gathered so far, the positive Covid-19 patron is part of a cluster that is linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in south-western Sydney. The individual is one of 21 Covid cases traced to a hotel that is popular almost exclusively with truck drivers and locals.
The number of Covid-19 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel was only 13 until recently, but new eight transmissions increased that number to 21. NSW Health officials expect this number to increase even further in the coming days and some of those new cases might be Star Sydney patrons who had the misfortune to visit the casino on Saturday, July 4.
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