All The Things People Have Been Fined For In Coronavirus Lockdown
"Is it okay for me to leave the house?"
In short, the answer is no.
People have been fined for eating kebabs, sitting on benches and driving around "aimlessly", and authorities are begging people to simply stay home this Easter long weekend.
The entire country is under instructions to stay home as much as possible until further notice, but many people are still struggling to get the message, even nearly two weeks on from the stay-home orders being issued.
This Easter weekend is being marked as a test of how well -- or how poorly -- Australian heed crucial safety advice to stop the spread of coronavirus. Politicians and police are telling us that "holiday" plans are definitely cancelled, as are parties, beach visits and coastal getaways.
If you're wondering what you can or can't do this weekend, the advice is to err on the side of caution. “A good rule of thumb is that if you are questioning whether you should be doing something, it is best to give it a miss,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said last week.
But if you'd like some concrete examples of what is definitely off the table, take a look at what things some people have been fined for across Australia.
Sitting in a car: About 3am on Thursday, four men were spotted by police sitting in a parked car in Casula. "They were not able to provide a reasonable excuse" for being out, police claimed. Officers said they also found an undisclosed quantity of cocaine in the car. The four men, aged between 19 and 22, were each issued a $1000 fine.
Sitting at a picnic table: a 20-year-old man at Mount Druitt was fined after being found sitting at a picnic table at a shopping mall on Tuesday. Police said he had been warned three separate times the day before.
Sleeping on a bench: also at Mount Druitt on Tuesday, police fined a man after finding him sleeping on a bench. Earlier in the day, the 37-year-old man had been stopped by police, and told them he "he had to get out and see his friends", so was fined after already getting a warning.
Visiting a friend's house: On Tuesday, two people at Lake Macquarie were fined after a "social gathering". There were two women who were residents of the property, but two male visitors -- aged 25 and 21 -- were issued with fines. Similar incidents, where three people have visited the resident of a home, have been recorded in Forster and Woonona.
Walking along a footpath: At 8am on Tuesday, police in Bathurst stopped a 41-year-old man. He had been "walking along the footpath", but police said he "gave several different reasons for being out of his home." He was fined.
Drinking in the park: at about 3.40am on Tuesday, police stopped a man in Warilla. The 20-year-old said he "was walking home from drinking in the park", and after it was found he had been warned the previous day, he was fined.
Going shopping: a 65-year-old woman, who had recently returned from Indonesia and was told to self-isolate at home, was found on Sunday in her car at Grafton. The woman told officers she had been to "seven separate retail stores that day, including the supermarket." She was told to go home and was issued a fine.
Eating a kebab: last Wednesday, police in Newcastle fined a man after finding him sitting on a bench, eating a kebab. He had earlier been warned twice.
In response to questions of "is it okay for me to leave the house?", NSW Health has issued a vehement answer: "No."
"Stay home unless absolutely necessary," the department said.
Victorian Police aren't releasing as much detail about their fines as other states, but police updates report that people have been fined for things including:
- watching a movie in a car;
- "driving around aimlessly";
- being caught driving too far from home without a good excuse;
- three people playing video games together in a lounge room, despite not living together
- hanging out in a park;
- walking the streets "seeking drugs"
A group was fined for playing cricket together, while a group of seven people was fined $11,000 for having a dinner party.
Several fines in Victoria have been revoked, however. A 16-year-old learner driver was stopped by police and issued with a fine, as was a man driving to a mountain bike riding trail. However, after questioning in the media, both fines were withdrawn.
Queensland Police have warned people against unnecessary shopping, saying situations at "Tamborine Mountain and a shopping centre at Logan in particular were concerning and clearly non-compliant".
“If you are sitting at a lookout, having coffee in a park, loitering in a shopping centre outside the parameters of the directions, you may be fined," they warned.
QLD cops issued 58 infringement notices of $1,334 each after a large group gathered for a car rally at Rochedale last weekend.
Most of the reported fines in WA relate to people breaching quarantine or isolation orders. A Victorian man who arrived in Perth on March 28 was required to isolate in a hotel, but was fined after being found to have escaped the room several times and travelling around on public transport.
A 73-year-old man who returned from New Zealand was found walking around his retirement village, going to the shops and riding his bike despite quarantine orders.
A large party of middle-aged people led to nearly a dozen fines in Port Augusta on Wednesday. Police were called to the address multiple times, and despite giving warnings, the people did not disperse. Fines of $1060 were given to 11 people, while two more people are being chased by police. Those fined were aged between 32 and 57.
Buying food: A 25-year-old man in Johnston was fined after being found outside his house, despite being subject to a mandatory quarantine after recently returning from NSW. He left home "to get food", police said.