COVID-19: Local police issue vital message on compliance

Police Commander on Covid-19: Coffs Clarence Commander Superintendent Steve Clarke talks about Covid-19.
Police Commander on Covid-19: Coffs Clarence Commander Superintendent Steve Clarke talks about Covid-19.

WHILE some residents have copped warnings, local police are encouraging the community to continue with their overall efforts in complying with the new social distancing regulations.

Under the new laws, which came into effect on Tuesday, courts can issue penalties of up to six months jail or fines of up to $11,000 for individuals, and $55,000 for corporations.

Locals flouting social distancing and isolation laws will now also cop $1,000 on-the-spot fines.

No infringements have yet been issued in Coffs Harbour.

Coffs-Clarence Superintendent Steve Clarke said locals have been relatively well-behaved compared to other districts.

"We've been really fortunate, people in this area are taking this seriously," Supt Clarke said.

"They've been very co-operative with both police and other agencies in the area and we're certainly seeing really good compliance across the board."

Under the new legislation, residents outside their home can only be with one other person.

NSW Police Force continues to use discretion in applying these regulations.

"There have been a couple of instances where we've had to come along and just remind people of their obligation, but generally speaking this community is doing a great job," Supt Clarke said.

"My message to everyone is continue to do that please, we've all got to work our way through this.

"Only get out there and take what you need, be mindful of our vulnerable people in the community, and support them as the police will, and continue to behave the way you have been."

Across NSW no infringements have been issued since the new powers commenced Tuesday.

Commissioner Mick Fuller said only one infringement has been issued for a breach of self-isolation, but the incident is unrelated to the increased powers.

Commissioner Fuller warned that while discretion is being used, those who continue to ignore the message will be issued tickets.

NSW residents now must stay inside their homes unless they have a 'reasonable excuse'. These include:

- Medical or caring reasons.

- To obtain food or other goods and services.

- For work and education (if it cannot be done at home).

- Exercise.

- Travelling to and from childcare.

- Attending a wedding or funeral.

- Moving to a new residence, inspecting a residence or moving between two residences.

- Donating blood.

- Undertaking legal obligations.

- Accessing public services.

- Fulfilling parental sharing arrangements of children.

- Going to a place of worship or providing pastoral care if you are a priest, minister or member of a religious order.