Four Sydney men have received $17,000 worth of fines after their claims they were out exercising at 2am failed to convince NSW Police.
The four men were from local government areas (LGA) of concern, which includes Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and some suburbs of Penrith.
COVID-19 NSW crisis
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced the fines on Friday morning as NSW recorded 644 new cases of community-transmitted COVID-19.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian also announced a swathe of new restrictions, including an outdoor mask mandate across the state, and a 9pm curfew and one-hour exercise limit for the LGAs of concern.
The NSW police issued 100 fines overnight and now have added powers to fine people found outside an LGA of concern without a reasonable excuse.
People who live outside of the LGAs of concern, but who are found within one of these LGAs without a good reason will also be fined and required to isolate for 14 days.
“This is all about stopping the transmission of the virus from the areas of concern, those 12 LGAs to the rest of Greater Sydney and certainly regional NSW,” Fuller said.
Worker permits introduced
Workers travelling to or from the LGAs of concern for work will now also need to carry a Service NSW permit allowing them to cross the border.
This worker permit system will kick in from 28 August and applications will open from midnight on 20 August.
The permit system allowing people from Greater Sydney to travel to regional NSW, announced earlier this week, is already in place.
“The permit system is to help individuals to better understand their rights and what they can do lawfully. These additional powers, including the curfews, were, from a police perspective, about stopping the spread of the virus,” Fuller said.
“If [the worker permit systems] are not available, and you have a lawful purpose, you can still travel, we will not take action against you for the permit, but it is an offence today to leave Greater Sydney, to go to regional NSW unless you have a reasonable excuse,” he added.
Surveillance testing ends
NSW will end its COVID-19 surveillance testing to help improve turnaround times, NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said.
Under the surveillance testing program, essential workers in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Cumberland LGAs were required to undertake a COVID-19 test every three days.
However, they didn’t need to isolate while they waited for results.
“At the moment we have to trade off those difficult priorities and prioritise symptomatic testing so that we can get that turnaround time [improved],” she said.
Workers who live in LGAs of concern but need to travel outside of their area to work will also only be able to work if they have had their first vaccination dose by 30 August, or if their workplace is carrying out rapid antigen testing.
Workers in the childcare and disability sectors who live or work in the LGAs of concern need to have had their first vaccination dose by 30 August.