Just one family car trip to the country could cost Sydneysiders $55,000 in fines and six months in jail if they’re caught by police, New South Wales health minister Brad Hazzard warned on Saturday.
The city ‘s five million residents have been ordered into a two week lockdown from 6pm on Saturday and the government stressed there will be no second chances for anyone caught breaching the strict new rules.
‘I want the community to understand to take it seriously,’ said Mr Hazzard.
‘Because if the police officer detects that you’re there, and there’s say five people in the car, that’s potentially if he decides that you’re going to go to court — $11,000 times five is a maximum fine of $55,000.
Just one car trip to the country could costs Sydneysiders $55,000 in fines and six months in jail if they’re caught by police, New South Wales health minister Brad Hazzard (pictured) warned on Saturday
‘Each of the individuals could end up in court, and if the court considers it appropriate, having a 6-month jail sentence. So take it very, very seriously.’
Residents of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong will only be able to leave home for essential purposes from 6pm on Saturday.
Those reasons include work, to shop for essential items, to seek medical care, or for caregiving or compassionate reasons.
Anyone in NSW who has been to Greater Sydney since June 21 is also being asked to stay at home for the entire lockdown period.
Exercise outdoors is allowed in groups of up to 10, and COVID-safe funerals can proceed with up to 100 people.
Exercise outdoors (like this scene pictured on Saturday in Rushcutters Bay in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs) is allowed in groups of up to 10, and COVID-safe funerals can proceed with up to 100 people
Weddings are allowed to go ahead on Saturday and Sunday with restrictions in place, but must be cancelled from Monday onwards.
Not wearing a mask where mandatory without reason risks a $200 fine and other breaches of health orders incur a $1000 penalty.
Highway patrol officers will also be stopping cars and checking licences to ensure people aren’t breaching travel restrictions over the school holidays.
The health minister also warned against anyone trying to find a loophole in the regulation to exploit.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said there would be no more warnings for anyone breaking the rules, with 14 on-the-spot fines already handed out. Police officers are pictured here patrolling Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay on Saturday
‘When you do that, you might feel self-satisfied for a moment or two, possibly even for longer, but you won’t feel as satisfied if you spread the virus, so please do not do that,’ he said.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said there would be no more warnings for anyone breaking the rules, with 14 on-the-spot fines already handed out.
‘Police will be enforcing the new public health orders like we have throughout this pandemic,’ he said.
‘While officers will continue to adopt a fair approach and use discretion, the time for cautions is over.
‘In the last 24 hours we have issued another seven people with Penalty Infringement Notices for not wearing masks, which means we’ve now issued 14 since the new public health orders were put in place.’
Not wearing a mask where mandatory without reason risks a $200 fine and breaches of health orders incur a $1000 penalty
With covid cases in the latest outbreak now up to 80, Sydneysiders hoping to make a break for the bush were also put on notice.
‘Officers from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command are continuing to patrol roads on the outskirts of the Greater Sydney area and will be handing out tickets to those who aren’t meant to be there,’ said Commissioner Fuller.
‘If you leave your home in the Greater Sydney area, you can also expect to see officers patrolling public places and public transport hubs. They are there to keep you safe.
‘I would like to appeal to the community to continue to work with police, not against us, as we enforce these rules.’
He added: ‘The Premier has now announced updated lockdown arrangements for Greater Sydney.
Residents of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong can only be able to leave home for essential purposes, including work, to shop for essential items, to seek medical care, or for caregiving or compassionate reasons. Pictured here are residents in Coogee making the most of their last moments of freedom before the lockdown came into effect
‘She has made it clear – we are dealing with a very dangerous strain of the virus, and this outbreak may represent the biggest challenge the pandemic has thrown at us so far.
‘My ideal situation would be no more PINs to announce tomorrow, because everyone had obeyed the orders and stayed at home.’
The health minister also warned that police would be using the latest technology including tracking rego plates to enforce the latest health orders.
‘Police have been tasked to be on the lookout for any vehicles that may have come from the Greater Sydney area,’ said Mr Hazzard.
With Covid cases in the latest outbreak now up to 80, Sydneysiders hoping to make a break for the bush were also put on notice. Seen here are police patrolling Rushcutters Bay on Saturday
‘And I remind you that they have all sorts of technology these days, including recognition of number plates.
‘I also remind the community that the regional communities are very aware when they see someone from out of town arrive – and they‘ll make sure that the police know.’