POLICE have forced the closure of Singleton's Caledonian Hotel until midnight on Tuesday for allegedly repeatedly breaching COVID-19 public health orders.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the closure order followed a number of previous interactions with the licensee - a 57-year-old man - due to "repeated and continued breaches of the Public Health Order by allegedly allowing, and not taking steps to prevent, unvaccinated people being at the premises".
The pub operator has been outspoken on social media against vaccination requirements and vowed to continue operating after being visited by police, saying in a post on Tuesday: "We are still here cracking along FOR ALL now and always".
Police attended the venue numerous times in the past week and issued the licensee three Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) and staff members three PINs for breaching the public health orders.
Police issued two $1000 fines to the licensee - a 57-year-old man - for being on the premises while not being fully vaccinated and for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure unvaccinated adults did not come onto the property.
The employee, a 54-year-old man, was fined $1000 for being at the pub while not fully vaccinated.
Singleton mayor Sue Moore said it was "inevitable' if they weren't following the health regulation after being warned repeatedly.
"They were still going about the path they'd chosen and obviously closure was the next step the police needed to take," she said on Sunday. "I understand that's until Tuesday at midnight - so I guess they have taken that long to get themselves ready to comply.
"I know there's some people in town supportive of them, but the ones that have approached me have been more the other way, annoyed and disappointed at what they were doing ... encouraging people to town that are not vaccinated.
"We are already not up to the mark of what we were hoping to be at this time with vaccinations and that puts even more pressure on a region that's not fully vaccinated encouraging anti-vaxers to come to town.
"I have had people feeding back to me, early on people wanting me to do something about closing them down I directed them to the police to report their concerns through to crime stoppers at police."
Upper Hunter MP David Layzell said people could make their own personal choices but businesses were expected to comply with restrictions during the transition period if they wanted to operate.
"We have tried to make the environment such that businesses can operate with certain restrictions," he said on Sunday.
"They are welcome to close the doors until we come to a time that communities can interact safely but we can't have a situation where people don't agree with the restrictions, don't agree with the science of the vaccinations, and still want to operate."
Hunter Valley Police served the George Street pub with the order to close until midnight on Tuesday, October 19 on Saturday.
Pubs were among a range of commercial operations that reopened to the public for sit-in service on Monday, October 11, after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, which were introduced in early August, eased.
But the wind-back applies only to people who have had two coronavirus vaccinations, until December 1.
In previous social media posts, hotel management had said businesses were being asked to carry out "the most shameful and disgusting act ever to be imposed on the good people of Australia" by way of "segregation and discrimination".
"Abiding by the law, we will not be invading people's privacy and asking for their medical status," the post said.
"Lets [sic] hope that those who uphold the law can do the same. We will never give up fighting against the tyrants and evil that threaten our very own freedoms and liberties."
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