Anyone who saw the pictures of people lined up along the street outside a Sydney Hotel recently would no doubt have been shocked by the sight.
I know I was, but not for the reasons you might think.
Yes there appeared to be little or no social distancing. As far as I'm concerned that was a show of ignorance and disregard for the rules by the people who were in the line.
But what really shocked me was the fact that the hotel was hit with a $5500 fine for breaching the COVID-19 rules.
As far as I can see it was the prospective patrons standing in the line on the footpath outside the hotel that were in the wrong. Not the hotel.
Hotels across the country, like many businesses, have been hit hard in the hip pocket since COVID-19 restrictions began in late March.
For more than two months these businesses had to shut their doors to the public completely. They were generating no income while still having to meet many of their usual expenses.
When they were finally allowed to re-open the doors it began with only 10 customers. Hardly worth getting out of bed for that sort of business! The opportunity to have 10 customers also came with many expectations on the pub owners and staff.
They had to keep a register of names and other details of patrons, extra cleaning was required, there were new service restrictions such as orders taken from the table in the early stages, someone was required to monitor the door so that customer number restrictions were maintained and there was that added responsibility of making sure people don't breach the rules. These were all responsibilities put on the business owners and staff. Most of them still apply.
No doubt these responsibilities are also associated with extra costs. That is extra costs all at a time when there are hardly enough customers to justify turning on the lights, let alone meeting the many new labour-intensive expectations.
Sure the rules have eased in recent times, but most hotels are still operating well below capacity. But the requirement to meet COVID safe regulations continues to hit the hip pocket.
It is impressive how the business owners and staff have stoically taken on the responsibility. They want to keep operating, they want to keep there jobs, they don't want to be shut down again.
But I can't help but think their responsibilities should stop at the entrance door. What happens in the street is far more than they should have to manage.
At what point is the individual going to take responsibility for their own poor behaviour?
The publicans and staff are inside, on the hotel premises, doing all they can to ensure the rules are met. Why should they be held accountable for the ignorant behaviour of people lined-up outside?
It's high time the authorities targeted those who truly flout the rules and not the scapegoat.
If this happened, then maybe people would be more considered about their behaviour.