More than $70,000 worth of fines have been handed out by police in just 24 hours to people breaking social-distancing rules.
New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys confirmed on Friday that almost 50 residents across the state had been slapped with the $1,000 infringements.
Queensland Police revealed they handed out 18 fines of $1,334 to residents who failed to follow COVID-19 directions during the same time period.
Police in Western Australia and Victoria have also been ordered to issue on-the-spot fines to people ignoring social distancing, with photos emerging of packed beaches on Good Friday.
Despite the COVIDIOTS, many Australians have followed the Australian Government’s orders to stay at home and exercise social distancing by staying 1.5 metres from others.
NSW Police ssued almost $50,000 worth of coronavirus fines in 24 hours. Pictured: Police patrol outside the Sydney Fish Market on Good Friday
Surfers hit the waves at Bells Beach in Torquay, Victoria, Friday. Australians have been advised to holiday at home over the Easter break
Mr Worboys said while most people in NSW were following the rules, it was disappointing to issue almost $50,000 worth of fines.
‘Here we are at the start of Easter. Right around this state, police are reporting that there’s a good deal of consideration and compliance with those requests around not travelling, social distancing,’ he said on Friday.
‘But it’s also disappointing, in the same time, to say that in the last 24 hours nearly 50 people have been issued infringement notices for $1,000.
‘Those people who just failed to get the severity of the situation that we face in these last few months and days.’
The latest fines came as NSW recorded an additional 49 coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s tally to 2,822.
In a statement on Friday afternoon, NSW Police said eight people had been charged under the Public Health Act and 45 Penalty Infringement Notices were issued.
A 23-year-old man was spotted by police in the middle of a road in Canley Vale, in Sydney’s south-west, at about 10pm on Thursday.
He asked police officers for a lighter and was told to get off the road. When police asked why he wasn’t staying home during the COVID-19 crisis, the man said he was ‘bored’.
The man was then allegedly aggressive towards the officers and was eventually taken to Fairfield Police Station, where he was charged.
The latest fines in NSW include a brawl in a unit, a group of people drinking alcohol at a shopping mall and a teenager smoking and drinking in a park.
Police were called to a unit on Chamberlain Street in Campbelltown, Sydney’s western suburbs, at about 10pm on Wednesday, following reports of a fight.
The latest fines came as NSW recorded an additional 49 coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s tally to 2,822
Pictured: Boats are anchored off Port Beach in Perth on Good Friday
There were eight people inside the unit and seven did not live at the address.
Three men – aged 22, 20 and 19 – were fined after police realised they were previously cautioned when officers were called to the same unit on Thursday April 2.
On Thursday at 1pm, police fined a 34-year-old man who was on a train near Dapto, south of Sydney.
The man, who was travelling without a ticket, said he was going for a swim but he did not have swimming gear.
Four men were also slapped with the $1,000 fines after police were called to a shopping mall in Mt Druitt at 2pm, following reports a group gathered to drink alcohol.
Police were conducting patrols in Gordon, Sydney’s Upper North Shore, when they saw seven young people smoking and drinking at a park.
A 15-year-old girl, who had already received two previous warnings for breaching the Public Health Act, was slapped with the $1,000 fine.
The rest of the group were cautioned and ordered to go home.
NSW Police said they have issued 28 Court Attendance Notices and 245 since March 17.
A group of people appear to break social distancing rules as they wait outside a KFC store in Miranda, in Sydney’s south, on Friday
QLD Police said on Friday 18 COVID-19 infringement notices were issued overnight after officers intercepted a number of vehicles allegedly conducting burnouts at an industrial area in Loganholme.
‘The road was cordoned off and police took up with at least ten cars that had been performing burnouts,’ a statement said.
‘Queenslanders are reminded that blatant disregard for the Chief Health Officer’s directives will not be tolerated, and police will continue to ensure compliance over the Easter long weekend.
‘Particularly around self-isolation, mass gatherings, borders, non-essential business activity and private residence gatherings.’
WA Police complimented beachgoers who hit the waves on Good Friday.
‘The overwhelming majority of people attending the beaches were consciously following the advice about maintaining appropriate distances,’ they said in a statement.
‘This was helped by the many members of the community who obviously decided to stay at home and not overwhelm the beaches.
‘Those people made it possible for the beaches to remain open and we thank them.’
Residents across Australia are urged to stay at home over the Easter holidays
Police patrol Cottesloe Beach in Perth as residents hit the beach for the first day of the Easter long weekend
A trio sit together at Cottesloe Beach in Perth on Friday. Beaches remain open in Western Australia but the government has warned they could be shut if beachgoers don’t adhere to social distancing rules
NSW residents are legally obliged to stay at home unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’.
This includes travelling to work or school, buying food or other essentials, exercise and medical reasons.
From Friday, residents who cough or spit on health workers, police, pharmacists, paramedics or other public officials during the COVID-19 health crisis can be fined $5,000.
‘This is a substantial fine,’ Mr Worboys said.
‘It’s something that the police can write on the spot and hand to a person, and it should be something that is not taken lightly.
‘And I have no doubt that, over the coming days, we will have to issue some of these fines.’
Shoppers adhere to social distancing rules as they line up to enter Sydney Fish Market on Friday
People are given hand sanitiser and have their temperatures checked before entering the Sydney Fish Market on Friday
There were 6,204 confirmed coronavirus cases across Australia on Friday
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,204
New South Wales: 2,822
South Australia: 428
Western Australia: 506
Australian Capital Territory: 103
Northern Territory: 28
TOTAL CASES: 6,204
Health Services Union state secretary Gerard Hayes said NSW would not tolerate residents spitting on health workers.
‘If anybody out there thinks it’s funny, thinks it’s of some kind of right of passage to either spit at a health worker or cough on them to make them feel vulnerable, you’re a coward,’ he said.
‘And that’s all you are. This society, New South Wales, won’t tolerate it. The union movement
‘This Government is working very hard, and we’re gonna work hand in glove with them to make sure the people of New South Wales are safe.’
During Friday’s press conference, Health Minister Brad Hazzard confirmed NSW’s 22nd coronavirus fatality.
The 69-year-old man died in John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle after catching the virus locally, possibly during travel to Queensland.
‘I just want to say, on behalf of all of the community of New South Wales, and on behalf of the Government and all involved, our sincerest sympathies are with your family,’ Mr Hazzard said.
‘It won’t be an easy time for the family of that 69-year-old, as it hasn’t been with the previous 21 people.’
Of NSW’s COVID-19 cases, 211 are in hospital including 29 patients in intensive care. Some 23 are being ventilated and another is having their blood mechanically oxygenated via the ECMO system.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said testing clinics remain open over the Easter break, with the state now processing more than 4000 tests a day.
Friday is the sixth successive day NSW has recorded fewer than 100 cases. The state’s highest daily count was 212 on March 27.
There are 6,204 confirmed cases of coronavirus across Australia and 54 people have died.
SOCIAL DISTANCING LAWS EXPLAINED STATE-BY-STATE: HOW TO AVOID GETTING CAUGHT OUT
Gatherings are restricted to two people, with residents only allowed out of their homes for a few essential reasons.
This includes buying food or essential goods, getting a medical treatment or engaging in physical exercise.
You can also visit a terminally ill relative or attend a funeral.
Students are also allowed to attend childcare, school, college or university.
From April 3, the state’s borders will be closed to everyone except residents and essential workers.
New South Wales
NSW officials are also enforcing the two-person limit, with residents legally obliged to stay at home unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’.
This includes travelling to work or school, buying food or other essentials, exercise and medical reasons.
It is left up to police officers to decide who will get the fines, with the maximum being an $11,000 fine or six months in prison.
The state has also brought in the two-person limit inside and outside the home – not counting people you already live with.
Its chief medical officer Dr Brett Sutton confirmed an exception would made for people visiting their boyfriend or girlfriend if they lived separately.
Otherwise, people are allowed to leave the house for one of five reasons – shopping for food, work and education, care reasons, exercise or other extenuating circumstances.
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT is also enforcing the two-person limit, but people are allowed up to two guests inside their homes – only if there is at least four square metres per person.
It also only allows people to leave home for essential reasons, including shopping for essentials, medical reasons, exercise, work or study.
Offenders are being issue with warnings, but may get a fine if they are found to be breaking the rules again.
As well as closing its borders to non-residents, WA has also introduced fines for people who cross out of their region.
Nine regions have been carved up, and people cannot move between them for anything but an essential reason.
This includes going to work, medical appointments, school or other types of education.
Drivers are also allowed to transport freight, and people can go to a shop outside of their area if the essentials are not available closer to home.
In NT, police are still enforcing a 10-person limit rather than just two people.
But chief minister Michael Gunner warned it may take further action if people don’t stick to the rules.
All non-essential arrivals in the state must self-quarantine for 14 days, and people are not allowed to visit remote communities.
Tasmania also has brought into law the two-person limit, with residents only allowed to leave home for essential reasons.
This includes shopping, exercising, and going to healthcare apppointments.
Going to a vet is also allowed, as is going to school or caring for another person.
Arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days.
SA has also stuck to the 10-person limit, with $1,000 on-the-spot fines for people who have a larger group.
Again, all arrivals into the state must self-isolate for 14 days.