Increased fines of up to $5,000 for COVID breaches, $320 COVID-19 Test and Isolate Support Payments, permits to enter regional NSW and a heightened police presence will be introduced, as NSW continues to battle the Delta variant.
In addition, in Greater Sydney and other lockdown areas, the 10 kilometre rule will be reduced from 12.01am Monday, August 16, with shopping, exercise and outdoor recreation to be done in a person’s local government area (LGA) or, if outside their LGA, within 5 kilometres of home. LGAs of concern must still exercise and shop within 5 kilometres from home only.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the vast majority of people are doing the right thing but there are a handful of people who are wilfully breaking the rules and putting the rest of the community at risk.
“The increased fines and heightened police presence are about ensuring people who are doing the wrong thing are caught and punished appropriately,” Ms Berejiklian said.
New fines and restrictions
Under the changes, there will be increased fines for Public Health Order breaches, a permit system to enter regional NSW and tightened rules for people in LGAs of concern to help reduce the spread of the Delta variant.
Increased fines for Public Health Order breaches (from 12.01am, Monday, 16 August):
- $5,000 on the spot fine for breaching self-isolation rules;
- $5,000 on the spot fine for lying on a permit (already a criminal offence);
- $5,000 on the spot fine for lying to a contact tracer (already a criminal offence);
- $3,000 on the spot fine for breaching the two person outdoor exercise/recreation rule; and
- $3,000 on the spot fine for breaching rules around entry into regional NSW for authorised work, inspecting real estate and travelling to your second home.
Permit system to enter regional NSW (from 12.01am, Saturday, 21 August):
- Any person who wishes to travel to regional NSW for one of the following reasons must have a permit which will be made available on Service NSW.
- Authorised workers from LGAs of concern;
- Inspecting real estate. Any person inspecting real estate in the regions must now genuinely need a home to live in (no investment properties); and
- Travelling to your second home. This is now only allowed if you are using the home for work accommodation or if the home requires urgent maintenance and repairs (if so, only one person may travel there).
Changes for residents in local government areas of concern:
- From 12.01am, Monday, 16 August: only exercise and supervision of children allowed (no outdoor recreation);
- From 12.01am, Saturday, 21 August: People who live alone must now register their “singles bubble”. Registration will be made available on nsw.gov.au.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the NSW Police Force will also have an increased and more visible presence across Greater Sydney, backed up by 500 additional Australian Defence Force personnel.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the joint NSW Police Force and ADF operation – Operation STAY AT HOME – would commence on Monday, 16 August.
“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 – it’s all about getting ahead of Delta, not chasing it,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“From this week we’ll be issuing $5,000 fines to people and closing premises which continue to break the health orders. Don’t complain if this happens to you – police are over the rule breakers.”
Test and isolate payments for western Sydney
In addition, eligible workers aged 17 and over who live in the LGAs of concern, who have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and isolate until a negative result is returned, will be eligible for one $320 payment in a four week period for lost wages.
The ‘COVID-19 Test and Isolate Support Payments’ start next week and will help cover lost wages of casual workers but also those who may have exhausted their sick leave or carer’s leave to isolate at home.
Those waiting on their test results will get the $320 payment in their bank account within three business days of applying online at Service NSW.
There will also be a new $400 hardship payment payable through the Red Cross, for temporary visa holders and others in the community who are ineligible for Government financial support.
Information on eligibility and how to apply will be made available at nsw.gov.au/covid-19