IMPORTANT NOTICE: Stage 3 restrictions are currently still in place. For more information, see:COVID-19 information for licensees
This statement sets out the enforcement approach that we will take to compliance with certain specified requirements as set out under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Casino Control Act 1991 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has created an exceptional set of circumstances that will have significant impacts on the businesses we regulate. We also appreciate that exceptional circumstances require flexibility on the part of the regulator.
Several requirements set out in legislation, regulation or venue specific conditions are there primarily to help manage the different levels of risk that different business types face.
The Declared State of Emergency (COVID-19) and subsequent announcements by the State and Federal Governments include that:
Arrangements to apply while orders are in force under the Declared State of Emergency
In these circumstances, we will take a common-sense and pragmatic approach to enforcing the liquor and gaming laws. In particular, it is recognised that the risk profile of certain venues has changed and measures put in place to manage these risks are, in the current environment, largely redundant.
While legislative requirements remain in force, we will have regard to the unprecedented pressures on industry and take a reasonable and proportionate response to compliance.
We will generally take a supportive and educative approach to compliance with these requirements during this time except in cases of significant risks to patrons or the community and will also take into consideration genuine attempts to comply with licence conditions and other requirements.
This includes circumstances where licensees may be non-compliant due to factors outside their direct control.
It is important to note that compliance and enforcement activity will continue, but with a primary focus on matters that pose significant risk to public safety and community wellbeing. Similarly, where genuine and reasonable attempts have not been made to comply with any legislative requirements, enforcement action may be considered.
These arrangements will remain in place for as long as the Declared State of Emergency is in force or until otherwise advised.
Operating with reduced patron capacity
We will take a flexible approach to enforcing any licence condition that requires crowd controllers, RSA marshals, identification scanners or any similar conditions in circumstances where licensees are operating in a reduced patron capacity in accordance with Directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.
We expect that licensees will take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their patrons, to reduce the misuse and abuse of alcohol, and minimise any amenity impacts, having regard to the amount of patrons present on licensed premises.
We will continue to monitor the situation and engage with industry and industry representatives as appropriate.
Regular updates will be made to our website. Stay up to date with any new information on our website by following us on social media via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn