31 March 2020

NSW residents face $11,000 fine for breaking quarantine

| Dominic Giannini
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NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard signed the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 last night. Photo: Twitter.

NSW residents who leave their homes without a valid excuse could face fines of up to $11,000 or six months’ jail time as the state toughens its social distancing and quarantine regulations to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The public health order (PHO), which comes into effect today (31 March), requires residents to stay home unless they are going to work, an education institution, to shop for food and essentials, get medical care or supplies, or exercise (subject to social distancing regulations).

The NSW PHO codified Sunday’s National Cabinet recommendations, banning gatherings of two or more people unless they are members of the same household or the meeting is essential for work or education.

Although, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazard said residents must not travel for work or education unless they cannot do it at home.

Corporations in NSW can be fined up to $55,000 if they break the rules, and will be slugged an extra $27,500 for each day they continue to offend. Individuals will be liable for an extra $5,500 for each day they continue to break the rules.

Reasonable excuses also include giving blood, leaving the house to avoid illness or escape harm, to deal with an emergency or on compassionate grounds, to access social services, or to visit your parents or children if you live apart.

The tougher restrictions were announced a day after a 30-year-old man was arrested for breaking his mandatory self-isolation a third time after arriving on a flight from Jordan on 18 March.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said officers would be enforcing the quarantine period and would not hesitate to take action against individuals who continue to ignore the law.

“Anyone who does not comply will be breaking the law, it is as simple as that. People need to take this seriously,” Commissioner Fuller said.

A full list of the rules and exemptions can be found at Public Health Orders.

More to come.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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