NSW Police officers now have the ability to hand out on-the-spot fines for people not following the restrictions in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.
This comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced stage two restrictions on Australia on Tuesday night, announcing a set of tough new rules on gatherings like weddings and funerals, as well as new business closures.
These changes are in place to assist people practice social distancing and stop the virus from spreading from person to person.
With the restrictions now in full affect, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said that police now had new powers to enforce social distancing and could fine people $1000 if they break the rules.
This includes anyone not in isolation for 14 days after returning from overseas, not quarantining after testing positive to the virus, being involved in a mass gathering etc.
Businesses who break the rules could cop a $5000 fine.
This is on top of the ability that officers already have to issue a court attendance notice to anyone breaking the rules, which carries a maximum of $11,000 fine and six months jail.
“This health crisis is like nothing we have ever experience, with more than 1000 cases now confirmed in NSW, and the numbers continuing to grow,” said Commissioner Fuller.
“I’m encouraged that most members of the community are taking this issue seriously and are adhering to the government advice.”
Commissioner Fuller said that it was disturbing to see that officers have already responded to numerous cases of people not following the guidelines.
“This is astounding, and incredibly disappointing, as these people are putting themselves and the wider community at an unacceptable risk,” he said.
“Our officers are conducting proactive patrols in every Police Area Command and Police District across the state, to add another layer of enforcement and ensure people in public places are sticking to the rules.
“These patrols also form part of our ongoing work with retailers, to ensure calm and fairness at the checkouts.”