27 July 2020

Frosty reception for COVID-19 breaches at ski resort

| Kim Treasure
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Police at a venue

Police have taken legal action against several people and venues across NSW for alleged breaches of the state’s Public Health Orders. Photo: NSW Police.

The lure of an apres-ski drink has led to an alleged Public Health Order breach at Thredbo, just a day after police were forced to shut down a dance party near Lake Jindabyne.

Police have taken legal action against several people and venues across NSW for alleged breaches of the state’s Public Health Orders over the weekend.

A dozen people who attended a large outdoor event in bushland near Lake Jindabyne on Friday (24 July) have been hit with $1000 Penalty Infringement Notices (PINS).

At about 11:30 pm, police were called to the area and saw between 150 and 200 people at a large, organised dance party. Following inquiries, Monaro Police District officers handed out notices for “failure to comply with a noticed direction in relation to section 7/8/9 – COVID-19” to eight men aged in their 20s and early 30s, and four women aged in their 20s.

In nearby Thredbo, the antics of patrons at a licensed venue also drew police attention.

READ MORE Four clubs close after ‘casual’ COVID-19 contact

Just before 4:30 pm on Saturday, Monaro police went to the venue and saw a number of alleged breaches to the Public Health Act. This included a breach of capacity limits for the size of the venue, including people waiting in line and not physical distancing, more than 10 persons seated per table, no COVID-Safe marshals and patrons not seated while socialising.

Police spoke to the licensee about the issues but when they returned an hour later, they allegedly saw further breaches occurring and witnessed people running away. The licensee was issued with two $5000 PINS, and a travel company owner who had organised for a large number of patrons to attend the venue was also fined $5000.

At about 5:30 pm Saturday, police also spoke to a 63-year-old Victorian resident who drove into NSW via the Cobb Highway Bridge that adjoins Echuca in Victoria and Moama in NSW.

The man allegedly refused to provide police with identification or a permit to enter the state, stating he was a ‘sovereign citizen’. After refusing a direction to leave under the current Public Health Order, he was arrested and taken to Moama Police Station. He was also charged with not complying with a noticed direction and granted conditional bail. The man, from Fyansford near Geelong, is due to appear in Moama Local Court on 9 September. He was ordered not to re-enter NSW without a valid entry permit or exemption and returned to his vehicle on the Victorian side of the border.

READ MORE We’ve got to be more vigilant

Police are urging anyone with information about individuals or businesses contravening the COVID-19-related ministerial direction to contact Crime Stoppers. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

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Why weren’t all the attendees at these functions fined???

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