NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has tightened COVID-19 restrictions in pubs but said she doesn’t want the state to have to go back into lockdown.

“Every time we have an outbreak we can’t afford to lockdown, reopen, lockdown, reopen – that is no way to live and that is no way to be able to instil confidence to businesses to keep employing people,” Ms Berejiklian told ABC’s 7.30 program on Wednesday night.

At the time of going to print, the number of COVID-19 infections linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney’s south-west was climbing to more than 30.

NSW Health has confirmed the source of the state’s COVID cluster was a Melbourne man who went to a Sydney workplace and then to a party at the Casula pub on July 3.

There has been a significant spike in community transmission of coronavirus in Victoria and from July 8, the Victorian Government directed that metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire would return to Stage Three stay-at-home restrictions.

The NSW/Victoria border closed on the night of July 7.

Ms Berejiklian said new rules will be introduced to pubs across NSW that will limit group bookings to a maximum of 10 people and cap the number of customers inside a venue to 300 people following a concerning rise in COVID-19 cases.

Tough new compliance measures will also see dedicated hygiene marshalls patrol venues to keep customers safe and ensure the mandatory implementation of a COVID-Safe plan.

Premier Berejiklian said the new measures, agreed to by the NSW Australian Hotels Association, will come into force at 12.01am Friday, July 17.

“We are at a crucial stage of the pandemic in NSW – we want venues strictly implementing their COVID-Safe plans and customers abiding by the rules of the venue they are in.”

“It is critical people remember when they are at a venue they remain seated. This reduces the risk of transmission.”

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