Either way you look at it, Illabo Hotel owner, Tony Espinosa, has made a polarising decision, but one that he thinks is best for the community.

The publican will be keeping Illabo Hotel closed until the NSW Public Health Orders are lifted and both those vaccinated and unvaccinated against COVID-19 can attend the venue freely.

Tony believes that patrons shouldn’t be forced to have a medical procedure to attend the pub and have a drink, instead openly backing freedom of choice for all.

Therefore, the Hotel will remain shut until December 1, the date when all health restrictions regarding double vaccinations are relaxed by the State Government.

Illabo Hotel, situated between the towns of Junee and Bethungra, will remain closed for at least the next six weeks following the decision.

The 67-year-old hotel owner and publican is not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 and has no plans to receive the immunisation and didn’t want to pressure patrons into getting jabbed either.

Tony wants to stand his ground on the issue and not be persuaded to open for a limited number of customers per night, although admits he isn’t an

The Illabo Hotel shares the same building as the local post office and general store, however, people would be allowed to attend these facilities, as well as stay in the motel vaccinated or not, despite still not being able to attend the bar under the same restrictions.

Since Monday, October 15, the NSW roadmap out of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns opened the state to fully vaccinated members of the public, and those with medical exemptions otherwise.

Although, the relaxation of restrictions for those double vaccinated, also meant that certain freedoms were removed across the state for people who had only received one or no doses.

Tim Warren