LOCAL pubs have been forced to cancel or amend bookings for the coming weeks in the wake of a new set of coronavirus protocols announced by the state government.
From midnight on Thursday, pubs will no longer be allowed to take bookings of 20, instead a new limit of 10 has been implemented, along with a cap of 300 customers per venue.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, and Kootingal Hotel manager Harry Gaffney said he had been busy altering customers' bookings due to the new restrictions.
"Most of our bookings have been for larger groups because most people are keen to finally get back out there and get together," Mr Gaffney told the Leader.
"It's all still up in the air as far as we know, so we are just trying to adapt with our bookings as best as we can.
"Fortunately, the overall number limit probably won't impact us too much but it certainly has forced us to change around our bookings."
Every pub in the state will be required to download and register their COVID safety plan by Friday and will need to submit a daily digital record of patrons' contact details to the government.
The new restrictions come into place in the wake of a COVID cluster in Sydney which has seen 28 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new guidelines would "reduce the likelihood that people will mingle."
"Personally, it is pretty frustrating for the actions of people in the city to have a flow-on effect for us in the country," Mr Gaffney said.
"I understand we are all in this together and that it is easier to police if it is all the same for everyone.
"However, it is a bit disappointing because everyone here is doing the right thing and keeping each other safe."
The new guidelines will not apply to clubs, but Wests Entertainment Group CEO Rod Laing said his staff was ready to adapt to any new guidelines.
"The advice we are receiving is that we are still able to do bookings of 20 and will still have our capacities based on the one-person-per-four-square-metre rule," Mr Laing said.
"However, that situation could change in the next day or so, we don't know.
"As for taking peoples details, clubs are very used to taking people's details and we have been doing that since we have had a licence."
Penalties for businesses breaching the public health order will prove costly with fines of up to $55,000, and a further $27,000 penalty for each day an offence continues.
Liquor and Gaming NSW also have the power to issue $5,500 fines for a first offence, before closing a business for a week for a second offence, and for a month after a third offence.
Under the new guidelines, pubs will have to implement a hygiene safety marshall, whose job is to oversee social distancing, cleaning and hygiene at the venue.
For larger venues, the marshall must be on duty whenever the hotel is open, while for venues with a capacity of 250 or less, the marshall only needs to be on duty between 12pm-3pm and 5pm-9pm.