15 August 2021

All of regional NSW plunged into lockdown, fines increased to $5000 for noncompliance

| Dominic Giannini
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Row of AFP officers in traffic

ACT Policing and NSW Police will increase compliance checks along the border. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

All of regional NSW will be plunged into a seven-day lockdown from 5:00 pm tonight (14 August) after the state recorded its worst tally of locally acquired cases.

A total of 466 cases were announced this morning, only 76 of whom were in isolation during the entirety of their infectious period. There have been four more deaths.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the new order was being brought in to minimise movement and protect regional communities from the evolving situation in Sydney.

All non-essential retail premises will close and pubs, restaurants and cafes will be takeaway only.

People cannot have guests in their house but one visitor is allowed to provide care or assistance, or for compassionate reasons.

This includes two people who are in a relationship but do not live together.

Employers must require their employees to work from home if they can do so and masks must be carried when leaving the house in case social distancing outdoors is not possible. Masks must be worn in shops and other enclosed areas, including public transport.

Non-residents are not able to enter the ACT from NSW without an exemption and returning residents must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

READ MORE Rural risk to unvaccinated ‘getting higher every day’

Standing exemptions are in place for border residents, which includes surrounding towns like Queanbeyan, Murrumbateman, Yass and Bungendore, but not Goulburn or Braidwood.

People in the 10 NSW postcodes covered by the exemption are allowed to enter the ACT for an essential reason.

Residents in these areas will now be subject to the same restrictions as all of regional NSW.

NSW residents will also face harsher penalties for breaching COVID-19 restrictions, with fines increasing to $5000 for infringements.

Member for Bega Andrew Constance confirmed that there are no cases on the South Coast, but urged residents to abide by the new restrictions.

“Please do not think you are above these orders because that’s how the virus spreads and spreads fast,” he wrote on Facebook.

“I would ask everybody to use their computers and phones to stay in contact with each other and keep morale high, particularly amongst our young people.

“This is going to be tough, but I know how resilient our community is.”

Tightened restrictions were announced for some local government areas in Sydney while an additional 500 Defence Force personnel will be brought in to help NSW Police launch a new compliance operation tomorrow.

The virus also continued to seed in the regions, including 26 new cases in Dubbo and surrounding regions.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman confirmed genomic sequencing has linked the ACT’s first case to the Sydney outbreak.

NSW closed its border to Canberrans following the ACT’s seven-day lockdown announcement, which started on Thursday (12 August).

ACT Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan said the Territory and NSW would be working together to ramp up border checks over the coming days.

For further information on the new restrictions for regional NSW, visit nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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