2 April 2020

NSW social distancing laws to end in late June

| Dominic Giannini
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NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says he will not be seeking an extension to the public health order. Photo: Facebook.

All residents of regional NSW will need to get used to the new social distancing laws across NSW that will be in effect for another 90 days.

No extension will be sought after this period ends, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said on Thursday (2 April).

The social distancing laws prohibit non-essential public gatherings of more than two people and require residents to stay home unless they are going to work or an educational institution, to shop for food and essentials, get medical care or supplies, or exercise.

NSW residents who leave their homes without a valid excuse could face fines of up to $11,000 or six months’ jail time for serious offences. Lesser on-the-spot fines can also be issued, while individuals will be liable for an extra $5,500 for each day they continue to break the rules.

NSW Police Commissioner Fuller says he hopes there will be no need to extend his state’s Public Health Order when it expires at the end of June.

“It is 90 days and I certainly will not be seeking an extension,” he said.

“Hopefully, people would have gotten the message by then and we will not be talking about the powers, we will be talking about ‘what will it look like coming out of this?’”

Three people were issued with infringement notices for breaking the social distancing laws laid out under the Public Health Order yesterday (1 April) and several others were given warnings.

Police have already arrested a 41-year-old Jerrabomberra woman for stepping in front of another woman and intentionally coughing in her direction while the woman was in Cooma on Wednesday (1 April). The woman also allegedly continued to cough at members of the public as she walked past them, including a woman with a young child.

In Sydney also on 1 April, a 39-year-old man was stopped after being seen washing car windscreens at an intersection in Sydney. He was issued with a penalty infringement notice by police after stating, “It’s just a virus, it’s not that bad”.

Commissioner Fuller says he is taking the unprecedented step of personally reviewing all fines in relation to the Public Health Order.

“If I think it is unreasonable, it will be withdrawn immediately and I will make personal contact with the individual,” he said.

More than 3500 people are currently quarantined in hotels in NSW after arriving from overseas under the Federal Government’s mandatory 14-day isolation regime.

Seven families have been moved to apartments and one man who is a quadriplegic was allowed to return home to self-isolate, Commissioner Fuller said.

An extra 500 people will arrive in Sydney from overseas on 2 April and be moved to hotels for the mandatory 14-day isolation period. About 200 Australian soldiers will also be placed in hotels after returning from the Middle East.

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Helen Jennings12:39 pm 04 Apr 20

This Police Commissioner is doing what needs to be done. He’s fair and genuinely concerned about the public. More guts than the PM.

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