In response to the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in NSW, a raft of new rules will soon come into effect and the penalties for any breaches will be some of the highest ever seen in the state.
NSW on Saturday recorded a record 466 new COVID-19 cases and the Premier acknowledged the state had a major issue with the escalation of cases.
To curb movement, more restrictions will come into effect from midnight on Monday and NSW Police will launch Operation Stay Home — a 21-day crackdown with increased penalties.
To assist with the operation, the NSW Police have requested an additional 500 members of the Australian Defence Force, who will join the already 300 ADF personnel on the ground.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said too many people were using excuses relating to exercise, the singles bubble and regional travel and they needed to close these gaps.
I honestly think we can get NSW out of lockdown quicker [with these powers], he said.
These are some of the strongest powers we’ve ever had in the history of the NSW Police Force, as part of the government’s strategy to get in front of the virus in the coming weeks – its all about getting ahead of Delta, not chasing it.
The new rules are as follows.
Restricted movement to within 5-km radius from home
From 12:01am Monday, August 16, anyone in Greater Sydney (which includes the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour) can only shop, exercise or engage in outdoor recreation within their local government area (LGA) or, if outside your LGA, within 5 kilometres of your home.
This rule does not apply to visiting your chosen singles bubble buddy or your intimate partner.
New rules for the LGAs of concern
If youre in a LGA of concern (Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and parts of Penrith) the 5-kilometre rule stays in place.
However from 12:01am on Monday, only exercise and supervision of children is allowed outdoors, not recreation.
That word is taken out in terms of those local government areas of concern, exercise means exercise, the Premier said.
In the LGAs of concern, it will no longer be acceptable to leave your home for outdoor recreation, meaning gathering at parks or outside takeaway shops or cafes is not on. Enough is enough. If you do it, you will get fined,” Police Minister David Elliott said.
From 12:01am, Saturday August 16, those using the single bubble in these 12 LGAs must register their buddy with the government. Registration will be made available at nsw.gov.au.
The buddy must not live more than 5 kilometres from you.
The 5-kilometre rules does not apply to intimate partners.
Permit system for travel from Greater Sydney to regions
From 12:01am, August 16, any person in the Greater Sydney area who wishes to travel to regional NSW for one of the accepted reasons must have a permit.
The accepted reasons are:
- authorised workers from LGAs of concern
- anyone travelling to inspect real estate
- anyone travelling to their second home
In addition to this, any person inspecting real estate in the regions must now genuinely need a home to live in and must not be inspecting investment properties.
You will also only be allowed to travel to your second home if you are using it for work accommodation or if the home requires urgent maintenance and repairs (if so, only one person may travel there).
Commissioner Fuller said 1,400 highway patrol officers are now spread across key roads and roadblocks have been established around Greater Sydney so people should expect to be questioned if travelling to the regions.
What are the new fines?
Fines have been increased up to $5,000 for COVID-19 restriction breaches and Commissioner Fuller said he was not interested in any complaints.
I am not apologetic. Please dont write in and complain to me, we have given ample warnings and cautions and that time has gone, he said.
The increased fines for Public Health Order breaches (from 12:01am, Monday, 16 August) are:
- $5,000 on the spot fine for breaching self-isolation rules (currently the fine is $1,000)
- $5,000 on the spot fine for lying on a permit
- $5,000 on the spot fine for lying to a contact tracer
- $3,000 on the spot fine for breaching the two-person outdoor exercise/recreation rule (currently the fine is $1,000)
- $3,000 on the spot fine for breaching rules around entry into regional NSW, which restrict travel except for authorised work, inspecting real estate or travelling to your second home
New COVID-19 test payments
In some good news, from Monday anyone who needs to isolate while awaiting COVID-19 test results will receive a special $320 payment.
To be eligible you must live in one of the LGAs of concern and apply for the payment within seven days of having the test.
Applications are now open for tests taken on or after August 13.
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