Australian motorists have been warned to avoid the roads this weekend as the nation faces an unprecedented Easter shutdown to try and break the coronavirus pandemic.
Police in every state have vowed to exercise zero tolerance for those heading to popular holiday spots, with jumping in the car only legal for trips to the local supermarket, chemist and work.
The crackdown will come on top of the usual double-demerit period for Easter, which starts at midnight Thursday in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.
Australian motorists have been warned to avoid the roads this weekend as the nation faces an unprecedented Easter shutdown to try and break the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured is a road block at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast which divides Queensland from New South Wales
Police in every state have vowed to exercise zero tolerance for those heading to popular holiday spots, with jumping in the car only legal for trips to the local supermarket, chemist and work. Pictured is the beach closed at Coolangatta, Queensland’s most southern coastal strip
Many Australians are set to suffer from a lonely Easter with fines being applied in a bid to slow down the spread of the coronavirus contagion, with the national COVID-19 death toll now at 50.
Having too many people over for a party, meeting too many friends in public, failing to observe 1.5m social distancing rules outside or travelling for non-essential reasons are also grounds for stringent fines.
With the borders of Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory closed off, those on holiday won’t even have a chance to travel interstate this long weekend.
States and territories now have the power to hand out on-the-spot fines to those caught violating public health orders.
States and territories now have the power to hand out on-the-spot fines to anyone caught violating public health orders
Anyone who breaks COVID-19 measures in New South Wales is liable for a $1,000 fine, with the same penalty also applying in Western Australia and South Australia.
In Queensland it’s $1,334.50, in Victoria it’s $1,652 in Victoria and in the Northern Territory, $1,099.
New South Wales
Under the coronavirus crackdown, residents of New South Wales are only allowed to travel for work, education or to buy food or medicine.
They can exercise outside but face severe penalties for relaxing on the beach or at a park bench.
Someone who fails to comply with a police direction risks being jailed for six months and copping a maximum fine of $11,000.
Mick Fuller, the Police Commissioner in Australia’s biggest state, is vowing to stop Sydneysiders in particular from venturing to the usual holiday hot spots this Easter.
Mick Fuller (pictured), the Police Commissioner in Australia’s biggest state, is vowing to stop Sydneysiders in particular from venturing to the usual holiday hot spots
Motorists brave enough to leave home this Easter face double demerit points for speeding on top of tough penalties for breaching coronavirus rules. Australians are strongly urged to avoid travelling to regional areas for their traditional Easter break, as partial lockdowns remain in place for COVID-19. Pictured is a warning sign in Sydney on March 31, 2020
Caravan parks, which are usually full this time of the year, will be patrolled to ensure only long-term residents and not tourists are staying there.
‘Over the next couple of days, New South Wales Police will be out on our roads, making sure that people adhere to the orders around the Easter holidays,’ Mr Fuller told reporters.
‘We will be going through caravan parks early, issuing warnings to people who may think that they can get around these laws.’
That means police will be in force up and down the Pacific Highway, where thousands of cars usually leave Sydney bound for beaches – from the Central Coast to Byron Bay on the Far North Coast.
Drivers caught speeding from midnight tomorrow until Easter Monday have a greater chance of losing their licence.
Going 20km/h or more over the limit normally incurs four demerit points.
With the borders of Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory closed off, those on holiday won’t even have the chance to travel. Pictured are Queensland Police at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast intercepting cars driving into the state from Tweed Heads in New South Wales
Drivers caught speeding from tomorrow until Easter Monday have a greater chance of losing their licence. Going 20km/h or more over the limit normally incurs four demerit points. But during the next five days, this offence will be worth eight demerit points
But during the next five days, this offence will be worth eight demerit points.
Being caught more than once, by a speed camera, on a long-distance drive would be enough for someone to lose their licence for three months.
NSW motorists are taken off the road if they incur 13 demerit points or more over a three-year time frame.
Double demerits also apply for drink driving, failing to wear a seat belt, not wearing a motorcycle helmet and using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
Drivers caught holding their phone will be hit with a $344 fine as well as up to 10 demerits.
Even though school finished on Wednesday, school zones will still apply today.
The nation’s capital has the same double demerits regime as NSW. All speed, seat belt and mobile phone offences will incur double demerit points, while all other traffic infringements will incur one extra demerit point. Pictured is Parliament House in Canberra deserted outside on March 26, 2020
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory, the home of Canberra public servants, is enforcing $8000 fines for those who invite more than two people to their home who don’t live there.
Like NSW, the ACT is also issuing $1,000 on-the-spot fines for meeting in public with more than one other person who isn’t from their household.
When it comes to long weekend road rules, the nation’s capital has the same double demerits regime as NSW.
All speed, seat belt and mobile phone offences will incur double demerit points, while all other traffic infringements will incur one extra demerit point.
Canberra motorists lose their licence once they incur 12 demerit points.
P-plate drivers will lose their licence for three months if they receive four or more demerit points.
Western Australia is far stricter than NSW and the ACT. Pictured is a sign at Scarborough Beach in Perth
Many Australians are set to suffer from a lonely Easter with fines being applied in a bid to slow down the spread of the coronavirus contagion
Western Australia is also strict when it comes to enforcing double demerit points during a long weekend.
Offences include drink or drug driving, speeding, running a red light, failing to wear a seat belt or child restraint and using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
Motorists who cover up their number plates to evade speed cameras will also be punished.
If a driver accumulates 12 to 15 points, they will lose their licence for three months.
Those who rack up 16 to 19 demerit points are banned from the road for four months.
A five-month ban kicks in once someone gets 20 or more points.
Like the other states, the West Australian government is imposing $1,000 on-the-spot fines for individuals and $5,000 fines for businesses who disobey these coronavirus restrictions, which have seen the shutdown of pubs, clubs, cinemas and dine-in restaurants.
The state best known for the Gold Coast and the Great Barrier Reef is cracking down on residents who have failed to properly self-quarantine for 14 days after visiting overseas.
Under the Public Health Act 2005, individuals face fines of up to $13,345.
When it comes to road rules, Queensland doesn’t have double demerit points for busy holiday periods like Easter.
Instead, it has an alternative system for repeat offenders who break the law twice in a year.
Drivers incur double demerit points for repeatedly failing to wear a seat belt, talking on a mobile phone while and driving 20km/h or more over the limit.
The first offence incurs four demerit points but doing it again within 12 months will see them slapped with eight demerit points.
Queensland doesn’t have double demerit points for busy holiday periods like Easter. Instead, the Sunshine State has an alternative system for repeat offenders who break the law twice in a year. Pictured are signs at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast declaring the beach closed
Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania don’t have double demerits
Victorian drivers don’t face double demerits over the festive season, but they only need to accumulate 10 demerit points to lose their licence.
South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have the same rules, compared to an 11-point in rule in other states.
From hiring an Airbnb to hiking in the bush? Everything you need to know about what you can and can’t do over the Easter long weekend
BY KAREN RUIZ FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA
For most Australians the Easter long weekend is typically a time to travel, with many families opting for a mini getaway at popular holiday destinations.
But this year, measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 through the community mean the holiday will have to be celebrated differently.
Public gatherings of more than two people have been banned under coronavirus restrictions, meaning Easter traditions such as egg hunts, Easter mass and family parties cannot go ahead.
Holidaymakers have also been urged to cancel their travel plans and spend the weekend at home.
So what can you do this Easter? Daily Mail Australia’s guide shows you what you can do to celebrate safely.
Families can no longer take part in large Easter egg hunts, but are safe to have them within their home or backyards
CAN I RENT A PROPERTY OR AIRBNB AND ISOLATE THERE?
No. While most Australians are already hunkered down at home with their families, travelling to isolate at a rental property, such as an Airbnb, is still forbidden.
Non-essential travel has been banned under the government’s tight new measures, meaning you should only leave your home if it’s absolutely necessary.
Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson on Monday said there was no reason for people to be staying at property other than their own residence during this time.
‘It isn’t illegal for them to advertise the [rental] property but guests couldn’t get there without breaking the law,’ he said.
‘It just goes back to whether or not the travel is essential. If it doesn’t fit under any of those [essential] categories, then it’s not essential travel,’ a NSW Police spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.
On Monday afternoon, Mr Anderson repeated that any suggestions staying in short-term rentals was ‘illegal’ were incorrect.
‘The NSW Government advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has been very clear. As per the public health orders, people must stay home with the exception of a number of circumstances including work and to provide care,’ he said.
‘The NSW Government acknowledges that in these circumstances the provision of short-term accommodation is often critical, particularly for our frontline health workers.’
WHAT ABOUT GOING TO THE PARK OR THE BUSH?
You can go to the park if you’re going for your daily dose of fresh air or exercise and remember to practice social distancing.
Outdoor Easter celebrations such as egg hunts and picnics however, will not be allowed, no matter how small.
Most parks will remain open, but all campgrounds visitor centres, high-visitation areas and historic sites in NSW have been closed as of March 26.
CAN I HAVE AN EASTER EGG HUNT AT THE PARK?
No. Outdoor gatherings, no matter how small, are not allowed under COVID-19 restrictions.
Families are safe to have an Easter egg hunt at their own homes or backyards.
A spokesperson for NSW Premier’s office told Daily Mail Australia you must have a reasonable excuse to leave your home.
WHAT ABOUT CHURCH?
For many people who are not particularly religious, Easter may be the only time they physically attend a church during the year.
Those people will not able to attend Easter mass this year due to new social distancing rules, but churches and are encouraged to hold services online if possible.
In states, including NSW, live-streaming and broadcasting of religious services in places of worship that are closed to the public can still go ahead.
Catholic and Anglican congregations have been using technology to overcome not being able to physically gather in churches and will do so over Easter. The Munday family of Sydney are pictured watching a live-stream service from St Paul of the Cross in Dulwich Hill