NSW Can Now Fine Residents Up To $11,000 Or Send Them To Jail For Leaving The House
In the latest hardening of the state's laws, the NSW government has quietly rolled out $11,000 fines and six-month jail terms for those flouting coronavirus measures.
The emergency ministerial directive signed overnight states people must not leave their homes unless it's for exercise, medical or caring reasons, travelling for work or education, or for obtaining goods and services.
Donating blood and accessing welfare or other public services is also considered a valid reason to leave one's home.
Parents, children or siblings who do not live in the same household can also leave their place of residence to continue existing arrangements for access and contact.
This week NSW Police Commissioner Mike Fuller clarified that people can visit their partners because of 'caring reasons'.
Homeless people are also exempt from the 'stay at home' measures, but "taking a holiday in a regional area is not a reasonable excuse" to breach the state's laws.
The order also bans gatherings of more than two people except for members of the same household or for work and educational reasons.
Gatherings can only be more than two when attending weddings of no more than five people or funerals of less than 10, when providing care or emergency assistance, or if someone is obliged to attend court, satisfy bail requirements and participate in legal proceedings.
Open homes are not allowed but the order states gatherings can be more than two when facilitating a move to a new home.
Under section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010, NSW police will be able to fine individuals up to $11,000 with a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment. A further $5,500 fine can be issued each day the offence continues.
Businesses who break the laws face maximum penalties of $55,000 and additional $27,500 fines for every day they continue to flout the measures.
The laws, which come into force on March 31, are a major step up from the $1,000 on-the-spot fines announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday morning.
"We will need to go further if people don't respect what we have put in place now," she said in the press briefing.
"We are doing our best to make sure we keep people out of hospital."
The NSW Premier said people in their 20s and 30s have been the worst offenders when it comes to violating the new coronavirus measures.
"Can I give a message to people in their 20s and 30s -- you are not immune from this and even if you are, you risk spreading it to people you love or spreading it to people in the community who are vulnerable and will lose their life because of this," Berejiklian said.
"Apologies to those of you doing the right thing but I need to get out the message, you can't socialise as you used to. That is not allowed anymore, " she said.
"We all have to adjust and play our part and hopefully we will all look back on this period as a difficult time but also a time when we all came together, stuck together and did the right thing by each other."
10 daily has contacted NSW Police for comment.
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