From Coffs to Tweed – the North coast covid lockdown — new rules and penalties you need to know
Just as we were hoping the imposed lockdown would end and we could return to ‘some sense of normalcy’, over the weekend the NSW Government ordered a snap seven-day lockdown of the entire state. There are also new rules and harsher penalties. Here is an overview of the new Public Health Orders.
What are the new rules in Far Northern NSW?
Until 12.01am Saturday 22 August, in all regions across the state, including the area north of Coffs Harbour, stay-at-home orders are in place. There are only a number of valid reasons to leave home, these include:
Shopping for food or other services – only one person per household is permitted to do this. If you have children who cannot be left unattended, you can take them with you.
To work – if you cannot work from home and the business you work for is allowed to be open. All business owner/operators are expected to allow staff to work from home where possible. Fines for breaching this rule are $10,000 for corporations and $2,000 for individuals.
If you cannot work from home and you go to your workplace that is allowed to be open, you must wear a face mask (unless an exemption applies).
Exercise and outdoor recreation
You must stay within your local government area (LGA). If you need to cross into another LGA, you must stay within 5km of your home.
All members of a family can undertake outdoor exercise together, but if you are exercising with someone who does not live in the same household as you, you can only go with one person. The fine for breaching this rule is $3,000.
You can leave home, and the 5km radius, if you are: caring for someone, attending a medical appointment, accessing services such as: social services, employment services, etc. If you have a legal matter or obligation that needs to be dealt with, or you are fleeing a dangerous situation.
Don’t share your car with other people, limit it to your own family members, unless it is an emergency, or you are travelling with someone you are caring for who does not live with you, or are travelling to help someone in an emergency.
Travelling into regional areas in New South Wales
If you wish to travel into other areas of the state, as of Saturday 21 August 12.01am, you will need a permit, available from the Service NSW website, and there will be a limited number of ‘acceptable’ reasons for travel into other regional or remote areas. The fine for breaching this rule or not having a permit is $3,000.
Visitors at home
You must not allow a person to visit your home, unless it is for things such as:
- Child care arrangements between separated parents.
- To help someone move
- To care for someone
- Provide a safe place for someone at serious risk of harm
Single bubbles – buddies must now be registered
People who live alone can have one nominated ‘buddy’ to visit them. However, under new rules now in place, that person must be registered with the New South Wales Government.
Face Masks and personal ID
You must wear a face mask
- in all indoor areas of non-residential premises
- at certain outdoor gatherings
- if you are on public transport
- Face masks must be worn at indoor or outdoor areas of a fresh food market.
- Common indoor areas in residential buildings, such as a shared foyer or lobby of an apartment block, lifts, stairways and corridors and shared laundry facilities.
You must carry a mask at all times, and your identification, such as a student ID, passport or Driver’s Licence. You must show proof of address if asked by New South Wales Police. Failure to wear a mask can attract a $500 fine. You must also use the QR check-in code at every place you shop or visit. Businesses which fail to have a way for visitors to check into their premises risk fines of up to $10,000.
Other fines and penalties
- $5,000 on the spot fine for breaching self-isolation rules.
- $5,000 on the spot fine for lying on a permit.
- $5,000 on the spot fine for lying to a contact tracer.
Travel to Queensland
If you must travel to Queensland, please be aware that Queensland border restrictions have been tightened, even for those local Government areas (LGAs) in the ‘border bubble, from the Coffs area in the south to Byron Bay and the Tweed Shire in the north, as well as the Far West, and a permit is now required. There are only a number of acceptable reasons for travel to Queensland during lockdown.
What to do if you receive a fine
NSW Police have been given additional resources and powers to issue on-the-spot fines during this particular lockdown as we battle the spread of the highly-infectious Delta strain of Covid.
Fines are issued as Penalty Infringement Notices and can be paid online at Revenue NSW. If you cannot pay the fine, you can make arrangements with Revenue NSW for a payment plan. If you wish to dispute the fine, you can request an independent review. If you are unhappy with the review decision, then you can take the matter to court. However, if you do decide to go to court, you need to be aware that courts can impose tougher penalties, including jail time.
If you are considering disputing a fine, it is wise to get professional legal advice regarding your options. Contact us.
This post is informative only, and it is not legal advice. For legal advice contact us.