Hefty On-The-Spot Coronavirus Fines Kick In Across The Country
People and businesses across Australia now face steep fines for breaching self-isolation, quarantine and mass-gathering rules, as authorities step up enforcement to manage the spread of COVID-19.
On Saturday, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia followed NSW in introducing their own set of on-the-spot fines and penalties, including for returning travellers and businesses breaching restrictions about mass gatherings.
Fines in NSW kicked in on Friday, and NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the force had been flooded with calls.
Here are the fines that apply in your state.
In Victoria, individuals flouting 14-day self-quarantine rules for returning overseas travellers can be slugged up to $1,652 each.
Businesses breaching restrictions about mass gatherings such as weddings, funerals and auctions also face penalties of up to $9,913.
It comes as the total number of confirmed virus cases in Victoria jumps to 685, with 111 overnight cases being the state's biggest increase yet.
Premier Daniel Andrews pleaded for people to stay home. He said harsher "stage three" measures are expected but did not say when they would come into effect.
"(It's a) beautiful day today. Sadly, you need to stay home," Andrews told reporters on Saturday.
"The fact that it's sunny, the fact that it's school holidays, this is no ordinary school holidays, this is no ordinary autumn day. And this is going to be the case for weeks to come."
Beachgoers were forced from the sand at St Kilda on Friday after ignoring rules about public gatherings. Beaches within the Port Phillip area have been closed and more will bet shut down elsewhere if necessary, the government said.
People will not be fined for failing to remain 1.5 metres away from others, with penalties reserved for returned travellers and businesses caught doing the wrong thing.
Those flying into Melbourne from overseas from midnight on Saturday will be bussed to thousands of hotel rooms, and watched over by police, private security and possibly defence force personnel.
Andrews said the state government had pre-booked 2800 hotel rooms and had 5000 ready to go.
Between 1000 and 1500 people returned travellers are expected to be quarantined in Victoria but hotels across the state have offered about 26,000 rooms to the government.
In Queensland, people who deliberating flout self-isolation directions, hold unlawful mass gatherings or conduct non-essential business could face on the spot fines or stronger penalties, Queensland Police said on Saturday.
Individuals or corporations which do not abide by "health directions" could be issued with an on-the-spot fine of $1,3334.50 and $6,672.50 respectively.
Much steeper penalties of up to $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations who flout quarantine directions may apply.
Since Monday, police have conducted more than 2,023 checks on non-essential businesses across the state.
"Public health directions have been put in place to keep everyone in our community safe, especially our most vulnerable," local police said.
South Australians who breach self-isolation or quarantine orders will be slapped with a $1,000 on-the-spot fine under new regulations rushed into force.
The changes will also allow for $5,000 fines for companies and businesses that trade again the current rules.
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said while the vast majority of people were doing the right thing, some people were not complying.
"This will send a very strong message that people who don't comply will face a stiff penalty," he said.
"The principal objective here is to ensure that people who are required to self-quarantine, who we believe are at risk of spreading the infection, comply with those obligations."
Before the new rules, police could take action against those flouting the rules but were required to launch a formal prosecution and take the matter to court.
New regulations in SA will also ban gatherings of more than 10 people as part of social distancing rules. Gatherings of less than 10 would require compliance with the one person per four square metres rule.
Stevens said he appreciated that things were changing rapidly.
"These are unique and unprecedented circumstances. We are writing the rules for this thing every single day."
Premier Steven Marshall said the government understood that the restrictions were changing people's lives.
"But they are not optional," he said.
"Everyone needs to understand that from today failure to follow the directions to the letter of the law will leave individuals and businesses liable for significant on-the-spot fines.
"The period of education regarding restrictions during this pandemic really has come to end and the period of enforcement has begun."
South Australia has 257 confirmed coronavirus cases with six being treated in intensive care.