Police are reminding businesses and the wider community to abide by their responsibilities under the current Public Health Order legislation, after a licensed premises was forced to close in the Snowy Mountains and a number of other potential breaches were identified over the weekend.
The Jindabyne premises was forced to close on Saturday (11 July 2020) after failing to comply with its obligations on several separate occasions.
Officers from Monaro Police District attended the premises multiple times between Tuesday 5 May 2020 and Saturday, issuing three formal warnings relating to intoxication levels and public health and safety issues.
On Saturday evening, officers again attended the premises and forced closure under Section 22 of the Liquor Act, due to further breaches.
The premises will remain closed for a 72-hour period and further infringement action is likely.
In addition, several licensed premises in Sydney remain under investigation for not complying with ministerial directions, and police have not ruled out further enforcement action.
Officers from South West Metropolitan Region are also investigating the actions of the hotel at the centre of the outbreak in Casula, and whether that premises was acting in accordance with its responsibilities under COVID-19 legislation.
With COVID-19 infections increasing daily in Victoria and now in NSW, the Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said he couldn’t fathom the actions of some businesses and individuals still failing to comply with the Public Health Orders.
“I am flabbergasted to see people flouting the rules at this critical time,” Minister Elliott said.
“The recent images we have seen of mass gathering and social distancing rules being blatantly ignored are disturbing. I want to commend the Police Force, who are diligently investigating any person or business that has broken these laws.
“The message remains clear, businesses and individuals will be fined and held to account for irresponsible and illegal behaviour that puts the whole community at risk,” Mr Elliott said.
Operation Corona Virus Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke, said the apparent disregard for the Public Health Orders by a small section of the community was disappointing – particularly at a time when the threat had never been greater.
“As we’ve seen in recent months, one of the biggest allies of COVID-19 is complacency within the community,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.
“Police will continue to enforce all ministerial directions in order to protect our health and wellbeing, but we do rely on community support and compliance.
“I would again appeal to those who think the rules don’t apply to them to change their attitude.
“We have worked hard as a community to get where we are, and we need to continue to work together to ensure we avoid another outbreak.”
The maximum penalty for contravening a Public Health Order is a fine of up to $11,000 and/or six months imprisonment.
The standard penalty will be a fine by way of an on-the-spot Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) – $1000 for individuals and $5000 for businesses.
Information on current Public Health Orders can be found at www.health.nsw.gov.au.
Anyone with information about potential breaches of ministerial directions is urged to contact Crime Stoppers using the online reporting tool at https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.