A Northern Beaches bride who risked a COVID-19 catastrophe by breaking lockdown to marry in Sydney’s CBD has broken her silence.
Diana Falasca, 28, flouted coronavirus restrictions by leaving her Beacon Hill home to tie the knot with Mark Bonifacio on Sunday in front of dozens of guests at Doltone House at Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont.
Police have since handed out a total of 21 Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) for Ms Falasca and wedding guests who made the trip south in breach of the Public Health Order.
Ms Falasca broke down into tears as she spoke out for the first time after the breach sparked widespread outrage.
‘I’m really sorry … but my wedding’s f****d, the whole year is f****d, it’s all f****d, it’s all really upsetting,’ she told The Daily Telegraph through tears on Thursday.
Diana Falasca, 28, flouted coronavirus restrictions by leaving her Beacon Hill home to tie the knot with Mark Bonifacio (pictured together at their wedding) on Sunday
Pictured: Diana Falasca, 28, and her new husband Mark Bonifacio at their wedding celebrations on Sunday
No coronavirus cases have been linked to Sunday’s wedding in Pyrmont.
But the Northern Beaches cluster has been linked to 144 coronavirus cases, prompting the government to put the wealthy community into lockdown and threatening further restrictions across the Greater Sydney region.
A Sydney-based wedding planner to the rich and famous who did not want to be named, told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday the wedding would have been a minimum spend of $50,000 just for the venue and catering.
Family members told the Nine network the couple had been trying to get married since July and had been forced to postpone their wedding twice this year due to coronavirus.
Had they postponed the event again, they claim they would have lost thousands of dollars.
‘The hair, the makeup, the photographer, the videographer… there are so many things that are tied to that day and they would definitely be losing money if they had to move it,’ the source said.
‘That could be as much as a 30 per cent loss.’
While the flagrant breach of lockdown restrictions has sparked outrage across the state, some working within the struggling industry do sympathise with the young couple.
Doltone House (pictured) is a a glamorous setting with a stunning view situated in Pyrmont – on the edge of Sydney’s CBD
‘Rules are rules and they would have known they were breaching the rules,’ the source said.
‘But I definitely feel sorry for them, they would have planned for a year in advance and then the outbreak happened.
‘That would have been very difficult. It’s not that easy to just cancel a wedding, it’s not like cancelling a backyard BBQ.’
On Wednesday nine more guests were slapped with heavy fines, bringing the total number of slugged attendees to 21.
‘After speaking with staff and attendees, police recorded contact details for more than a dozen guests, who are Northern Beaches residents,’ NSW Police said in a statement on Wednesday.
‘Police issued 12 PINs (personal infringement notices) on Monday (28 December 2020) to attendees who are Northern Beaches residents.
‘Following further inquiries, another nine guests were identified as Northern Beaches residents and were spoken to by police before $1000 PINs were issued either in person or by post.’
The guests stung with fines include three men aged 31, 41 and 75 and two women aged 42 and 71 from Narraweena.
Officers crashed the celebration at Doltone House at 5pm after receiving a tip-off. Pictured: Bride Diana Falasca (left)
Pictured: The ultra-stylish Doltone House venue at Jones Bay Wharf is seen fully decorated before a big wedding
Mr Bonifacio (pictured) did not breach the health regulations and was not fined
A 32-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman from Collaroy Plateau were also slapped with penalties, along with a 36-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman from French’s Forest.
The groom, Mr Bonifacio, did not breach the health regulations and was not fined.
Video showed the happy couple dancing in front of family and friends while celebrating their nuptials at Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont.
The following morning, Ms Falasca and a number of guests were each fined $1,000 for defying health orders and leaving the region following a Covid-19 outbreak on December 16.
Ms Falasca’s family and members of the bridal party were among the people hit with penalties.
Officers crashed the celebration at Doltone House at 5pm after receiving a tip-off, with pictures showing guests mingling on a balcony.
They waited until the ceremony was over before they began speaking with guests and staff, and handing out fines.
Ms Falasca’s parents refused to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia at their home in Narraweena on Tuesday, and both bride and groom did not respond to messages.
Doltone House maintained the venue was compliant with all of the state’s lockdown rules and statutory obligations, but was misled by the wedding party.
A man with a protective mask swabs surfaces throughout Doltone House on Thursday, days after a wedding at the venue sparked outrage when the bride breached the Northern Beaches lockdown
‘These people, and all guests for that matter that attended the wedding, were required to, and did in fact, register their attendance at the venue through the NSW Government QR Code App,’ the venue said on their Facebook page.
‘Had Doltone House been advised that any person attending the wedding was doing so in breach of government restrictions, then it would have taken all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of its guests and the broader community.’
Premier Gladys Berejiklian lashed out at the rule-breakers on Tuesday labelling their actions ‘the type of behaviour that risks it for everybody’.
‘All of us were shaking our heads, absolutely aghast that that occurred,’ she said.
‘We appreciate that those milestone events are special times for people, but please consider the greater risk you are posing to every person in NSW and the broader community of our nation.
‘Please know that if you do the wrong thing, you will get caught, especially when it is so brazen as to do that.’
Professional cleaners clad in protective equipment were spotted scrubbing down surfaces throughout the lavish inner-city venue on Thursday.
Decked in hazmat suits, a group disinfected the top floor rooms used to host the ritzy reception for the Sunday wedding.
A group of cleaners in hazmat suits were spotted disinfecting surfaces throughout the top floor. Pictured: a man swabbing surfaces after the coronavirus deep clean
Family members said the couple had been trying to get married since July and had been forced to postpone their wedding twice this year due to coronavirus (pictured, Doltone House in Pyrmont, Sydney)
Owner of Cleancorp Lisa McQueen told Daily Mail Australia cleaning Doltone House would be a ‘very big job’, requiring many staff
After they left, a man in a mask, gloves, and high-visibility clothing walked through and swabbed various surfaces, including outdoor furniture arranged on the balcony.
Owner of Cleancorp Lisa McQueen told Daily Mail Australia cleaning Doltone House would be a ‘very big job’, requiring a dedicated team of staff.
While the price of each assignment is calculated from many factors, like the size of the venue, she estimated the bill for the job would sit around $10,000.
‘It would be an all day job. The cleaners are going to have to clean all of the upholstered chairs that have been used, bathrooms, everything,’ she said.
‘It is sad for the venue because they probably did everything right. It is a really tough situation for any business that is touched by COVID-19.’
NSW Health guidelines for businesses linked with COVID-19 cases stipulate they must undergo cleaning.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted NSW Health for comment on whether cleaning was mandated for Doltone House, despite no cases being linked to the venue, and if the government subsidises the procedure for businesses.
Ms McQueen estimated the cleaning bill for the ritzy venue would be around $10,000 based on its size
Nine more guests have been hit with fines after a Norther Beaches bride flouted the area’s Covid lockdown and got hitched at a swanky CBD venue (pictured, Northern Beaches bride Diana Falasca)
It comes as NSW has reported 10 cases of community transmission of coronavirus as the inner west cluster grows from a mystery source.
Of those five were linked to Sydney’s northern beaches cluster, after almost 28,000 tests conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday.
The so-called Avalon cluster, which erupted earlier this month, now totals 144.
Three of the 10 COVID-19 cases are linked to the Croydon cluster in Sydney’s inner west, and the source of this infection is still under investigation.
A total of nine people are now associated with this hot spot after six infected persons from the same extended family were detected on Wednesday.
Of the two other cases reported on Thursday, one is a close contact of a previously reported infected patient transport driver and the other is from western Sydney and the source is under investigation.
Northern Beaches locals line up to be tested at a pop-up Covid-19 testing facility in Avalon on December 18
Authorities are also still investigating two COVID-19 cases involving a pair of women from the same household in Wollongong, on the NSW south coast.
Hundreds of people have been tested for the virus in the city and the government expects to have a clearer picture of any spread in the next 24 to 48 hours.
But Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was pleased to the number of cases fall to 10 from 18 the day before.
‘So pleasingly, we have seen the numbers go down today but it’s very volatile,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘They’re going to bounce around.
‘What is really important is for all of us to do everything we can to reduce our mobility, to reduce the number of people that we’re mixing with and to make sure that we stick to the rules and the health advice.’
Sydney’s Northern Beaches – which encompasses about 250,000 residents – was plunged into lockdown from 5pm on Saturday, December 19. Pictured: People exercise at Manly Beach on December 23
After Victoria recorded another three locally acquired infections to a new total of six cases, the state has mandated mask-wearing indoors.
But Ms Berejiklian continues to resist making mask mandatory in NSW saying her government had to carefully weigh its response against its responsibility to community freedoms.
‘We’re prepared to change things, we’re prepared to change settings suddenly and immediately if we have to,’ she added.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant reiterated the threat of COVID-19 was ever-present, saying ‘we are never going back to normal’.
‘We might get a little bit more normalcy once we have all the population vaccinated, but COVID potentially will change our lives at all times and it may be something like the flu where we have to learn how to manage it with the tool of having a vaccine.
‘For, literally, years to come, years.’
New health alerts were issued on Thursday for various venues in Sydney that might have been contaminated.
‘Stay at home’: A Covid-19 digital sign is seen at Manly Beach on December 23 after the area was plunged back into lockdown
They include Earlwood Bradwell Park RSL, Rhodes Priceline Pharmacy and Bass Hill Plaza.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard earlier confirmed the SCG cricket match was still going ahead on New Year’s Day.
Tighter restrictions for New Year’s Eve and the following days have now come into force.
Household gatherings across greater Sydney – which includes Wollongong, the Central Coast, Nepean and the Blue Mountains – are limited to five people indoors, down from 10, and 30 outdoors, down from 50.
The new five-person rule for indoor gatherings in Sydney will remain in place indefinitely.
Sydneysiders are mostly banned from watching the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks from the harbour on Thursday, with the foreshore fenced off.
Stay-at-home orders applying to northern beaches residents north of the Narrabeen Bridge will continue until at least January 9. A lockdown for the peninsula’s southern zone will be in place until January 2.