UPDATE, Tuesday, 7.30am:
Police have vowed to crack down on hospitality venues with a veteran restaurateur claiming 50 per cent of venues are openly flouting chief health officer restrictions.
The businessman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there were a range of issues and venues openly exceeding capacity was just one problem area.
"I've seen video and images from the weekend that were just unbelievable," he said.
One video from a venue on Saturday night was seen by The Standard.
The venue was packed, clearly well above its capacity and people were inside and outside the business waiting for takeaway food.
At least one Warrnambool venue was issued with a warning on Saturday night and police have vowed to launch an education blitz this week.
Indoor venues can only cater for one customer for every four square metres of space.
Confusion is claimed by some businesses with an overall of 40 patrons allowed indoors, depending on space.
It's understood some venues are deliberately exceeding their capacity as businesses struggle to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, the veteran operator said he had been to three venues recently where his contact details were not taken.
"A few extra people is one problem, but not taking contact details to enable tracing if an outbreak did happen, is just unforgivable," he said.
"There were people from Melbourne down here at the weekend just shaking their heads.
"They had been in a hard lockdown for months, they did it really tough, and what happened last weekend here was just disrespectful of their hard-fought efforts."
The operator said many hospitality venues were simply not comply with the health guidelines,
"It takes an enormous amount of work to turn over a table. Sanitising menus and chairs is just not being done in many, many places," he said.
"I know we are all sick of coronavirus but there are rules in place for very specific reasons.
"The last thing we want is a third wave. Imagine being back where we were."
The restaurateur also called on the state government to fulfil basic requirements.
"We still don't have an official statewide QR scanning code system," he said.
"That's really unforgivable in the current situation and people have had to source QR codes the best they can.
"Again, it's not good enough.
"We all want this to be over but it's not yet.
"Look at what's happening in South Australia.
"At the very least we need a solid contact tracing system in place.
"That's the bare minimum acceptable practise and it's up to everyone to do the right thing there."
Monday: Warrnambool restaurateurs obeying COVID space restrictions are getting fed up with competing businesses blatantly flouting the rules.
There was plenty of chatter on social media during the weekend about businesses allegedly breaking the Victorian chief health officer's hospitality customer restrictions.
There seemed to be some confusion about whether venues could host 40 patrons indoors. The CHO guidelines clearly state indoor spaces can only cater for a maximum of one customer for each four square metres.
Warrnambool police district Inspector Paul Marshall confirmed one city eatery received a warning on Saturday night after clearly exceeding the one customer per four-square-metre rule.
He said it was up to each individual business to be aware of its maximum patronage.
The inspector said a business that blatantly breached COVID-19 requirements risked being issued with a $9913 infringement notice.
More information can be found at: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-sector-guidance-accommodation-and-food-services
Under industry restart guidelines there is a specific section for hospitality which provides detailed information.
"We had members who talked to the proprietor at one restaurant who was well and truly over their capacity and he was issued with a warning," Mr Marshall said.
"There seems to be confusion about the numbers allowed and the density quotas.
"It's one customer for each four-square-metres and the businesses operators need to educate themselves about their responsibilities.
"After the year many businesses have had, the last thing anyone would need is a fine of almost $10,000 for blatantly doing the wrong thing."
Mr Marshall said there would be a Warrnambool media blitz about the CHO hospitality regulations soon.
"The practises for restaurants, hotels, cafes, bars and clubs are very clearly set out," he said.
"We enforce the chief health officers rules. The onus is on hospitality businesses to know what they can and can't do.
"Ignorance is no excuse under the rules. These are legal responsibilities.
"It's not worth squeezing people in to get a few extra bucks when on the downside you're risking a fine of almost $10,000.
"If you're unsure then go to the website and check."
Inspector Marshall said police officers were being tasked under Operation Sentinel during both morning and afternoon shifts every day to ensure CHO regulation compliance.
He requested people report breaches of COVID-19 restrictions by contacting 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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