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Police cracking down on Health Directives

A Sydney massage parlour owner, three staff members and a returned traveller from the Lake Macquarie area are the first individuals and business in NSW to receive infringements following amendments to the Public Health Act.

Earlier today (Thursday 26 March 2020), officers from Sydney City Police Area Command were conducting a patrol in the Sydney CBD as part of a proactive police operation to ensure individuals and businesses were complying with all ministerial directions related to COVID-19.

As a result of these inspections, a massage parlour on Sussex Street was identified as still operating, contrary to a Public Health Order. Officers spoke with the female owner of the business and issued her with a $5000 Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) for failing to comply with a direction under Section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW). Three female staff members were also issued with $1000 PINs. In a separate incident, last Saturday (21 March 2020), a 65-year-old woman arrived at Sydney International Airport on a flight from Bali. She was advised she was subject to a Public Health Order and was required to quarantine for a 14-day period. After receiving information that the woman had contravened the order, officers from Lake Macquarie Police District attended her Redhead home about midday on Monday (23 March 2020) and issued her with a warning for breaching the order. Police received further information that the woman had left her home during the morning today (Thursday 26 March 2020) and was in breach of the order. About 1.45pm, officers returned to the woman’s home and issued her with a $1000 PIN for failing to comply with a direction under Section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW). Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said the rules could not be clearer and they apply to everyone. “No one is above the law. If you decide to ignore a direction, you will be caught, and you may very well find yourself slapped with a hefty fine,” the Minister said. “The fact that people are still not complying is the reason why we have police out in full force enforcing these directions. “This behaviour is not only reckless and stupid, but potentially deadly.” NSW Police officers now have the additional power to issue Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) to anyone found to be in contravention of a ministerial direction under the Public Health Act. PINs carry on-the-spot fines of $1000 for individuals and $5000 for businesses. Anyone with information about members of the community breaching Public Health Orders or otherwise contravening the Public Health Act is urged to report online to Crime Stoppers: Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

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