Australian News

People snapped flouting social distancing rules

The NSW Premier can’t make it any clearer.

“Do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to,” Gladys Berejiklian said this morning.

“Do not gather more than two people outside or inside your home apart from your family and make sure you take every social distancing precautions when you’re out and about.”

But that hasn’t stopped people in Sydney’s east who have been snapped continuing to flout the social distancing rules in NSW this morning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dozens of people are still sightseeing in Bondi Beach or gathering with friends.

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Swimmers in Mackenzies Bay were also embarrassingly caught out by council rangers on Sunday.

It comes about a week after thousands of Australians massed on Bondi Beach after strict advice to socially distance themselves from others.

Australians have been repeatedly told not to leave the house unless it’s essential and gatherings have been restricted to two people.

Ms Berejiklian said cases in NSW were increasing.

“The number of cases acquired through community transmission is increasing,” she said.

“It is really important for us, at this stage of the virus, for us to maintain that level of control and containment as much as possible.

“We want to see fewer people have to go to hospital. We want to see fewer people die.

“But we know, unfortunately, as has happened around the world, that the cases will continue to increase and the more we can slow it down, the better it is for all of us and the more lives that we will save.”

There are 2032 cases in NSW now, among 4459 across the country, and there have been 19 deaths.

There’s also been an outbreak of cases among backpackers in Bondi.

According to NSW Health, the ‘South Eastern Sydney’ region – which Bondi falls under in this categorisation – has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state at 450.

Anyone in NSW who leaves their house without a “reasonable excuse” can now cop six months in jail or an $11,000 fine under strict new measures announced last night.

The NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement Order 2020) makes it unlawful to leave your place of residence unless it’s for an essential purpose – obtaining groceries, exercising, medical or compassionate care, and working or studying that cannot be done from home.

Under the Public Health Act, individuals face fines of up to $11,000 or can be sent to prison for six months – or both. They can also be fined another $5500 for each day the offence continues.

Corporations that fail to comply are liable for a $55,000 initial fine and $27,500 for each day the offence continues.

There are 16 “excuses” for leaving home in total, including attending weddings (of five people or less) and funerals (of 10 people or less), moving house, donating blood, legal obligations and accessing public services such as Centrelink.

“No one wants to have to issue on-the-spot fines to people,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“But lives are at stake, and all of us have to accept that the world is different.”

NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller said you were in lockdown wherever you lived.

“Wherever your primary home is, that’s where we want you to stay, unless you’re getting food or going to the doctor’s,” he said.

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