Licensee of Singleton's Caledonian Hotel charged over alleged COVID-19 public health order breaches

Singleton's Caledonian Hotel.
Singleton's Caledonian Hotel.

The publican at a Hunter venue, where fines were repeatedly handed out for COVID-19 public health order breaches last week, has been charged.

It comes after NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Saturday ordered the temporary closure of Singleton's Caledonian Hotel after management appeared to be continuing to thumb its nose at coronavirus restrictions - particularly related to vaccinations.

The pub, which has dubbed itself "the freedom hotel" on social media, will be allowed to reopen on Wednesday.

A NSW Police spokesperson said officers issued a court attendance notice to a legal representative of the licensee, a 57-year-old man, on Monday afternoon.

He has been charged with two counts of not complying with a noticed direction in relation to COVID-19 and will face Singleton Local Court on December 2.

Meanwhile, management of the venue said in a post on Facebook on Monday night that the pub would reopen on Wednesday to everyone - for takeaway only.

"Bear with us as we navigate our way through this testing time of segregation and discrimination orders imposed on the good FREE people of Australia," the post said.

"The Cali will always be open and welcoming to all."

Pubs were among a range of commercial operations that reopened to the public for sit-in service last week after 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.

The Caledonian Hotel's Facebook page shows continued opposition to what it calls "segregation" caused by the public health orders.

Among the fines handed out at the venue last week, the licensee was penalised for being on a "higher risk" premises while not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, not taking reasonable steps to ensure unvaccinated adults were kept off the property and failing to comply with a COVID-19 government direction.

A 54-year-old staff member was also fined last week for being at the pub while not fully vaccinated.

A Liquor and Gaming NSW spokesperson said on Tuesday afternoon that the government body was working with police in relation to the matter.

"Next steps will be determined by the licensee's compliance with Public Health Orders," the spokesperson said.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up, with supporters raising more than $1300 so far.

The Newcastle Herald has attempted to contact hotel management.


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This story Singleton's Caledonian Hotel licensee charged first appeared on Newcastle Herald.