The only 16 excuses for going out

Anyone in NSW who leaves their house without a "reasonable excuse" can now cop six months in jail or an $11,000 fine under strict new measures announced last night.

There are 16 "excuses" for leaving home in total, including attending weddings (of five people or less) and funerals (of 10 people or less), moving house, donating blood, legal obligations and accessing public services such as Centrelink.

The NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement Order 2020) makes it unlawful to leave your place of residence unless it's for an essential purpose - obtaining groceries, exercising, medical or compassionate care, and working or studying that cannot be done from home.

Gatherings of more than two people are banned in public places, unless they are members of the same household or it's an essential work or study-related gathering.

Under the Public Health Act, individuals face fines of up to $11,000 or can be sent to prison for six months - or both. They can also be fined another $5500 for each day the offence continues.

Corporations that fail to comply are liable for a $55,000 initial fine and $27,500 for each day the offence continues.

People in the Bondi area, including Mackenzie's Beach which is officially closed, have not been obeying social distancing rules despite the area becoming a hospot for the virus. Picture: Rohan Kelly
People in the Bondi area, including Mackenzie's Beach which is officially closed, have not been obeying social distancing rules despite the area becoming a hospot for the virus. Picture: Rohan Kelly

 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian this morning stressed people should stay inside.

"Do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to," she said.

"Do not gather more than two people outside or inside your home apart from your family and make sure you take every social distancing precautions when you're out and about.

"The number of cases acquired through community transmission is increasing.

"It is really important for us, at this stage of the virus, for us to maintain that level of control and containment as much as possible."

There are 2032 cases in NSW now, with an outbreak among backpackers in Bondi.

"We want to see fewer people have to go to hospital. We want to see fewer people die," Ms Berejiklian said.

"But we know, unfortunately, as has happened around the world, that the cases will continue to increase and the more we can slow it down, the better it is for all of us and the more lives that we will save."

Ms Berejiklian said no one wanted to have to issue on-the-spot fines to people.

"But lives are at stake, and all of us have to accept that the world is different," she said.

 

Here's the full list of reasonable excuses:

1. Obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes (including for pets) and for vulnerable persons

2. Travelling for the purposes of work if the person cannot work from the person's place of residence

3. Travelling for the purposes of attending childcare (including picking up or dropping another person at childcare)

4. Travelling for the purposes of facilitating attendance at a school or other educational institution if the person attending the school or institution cannot learn from the person's place of residence

5. Exercising

6. Obtaining medical care or supplies or health supplies or fulfilling carer's responsibilities

7. Attending a wedding or a funeral

8. Moving to a new place of residence (including a business moving to new premises) or between different places of residence of the person or inspecting a potential new place of residence

9. Providing care or assistance (including personal care) to a vulnerable person or providing emergency assistance

10. Donating blood

11. Undertaking any legal obligations

12. Accessing public services (whether provided by Government, a private provider or a non-Government organisation), including social services, employment services, domestic violence services, mental health services, and services provided to victims (including as victims of crime)

13. For children who do not live in the same household as their parents or siblings or one of their parents or siblings - continuing existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children or siblings

14. For a person who is a priest, minister of religion or member of a religious order going to the person's place of worship or providing pastoral care to another person

15. Avoiding injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm

16. For emergencies or compassionate reasons.

Originally published as The only 16 excuses for going out



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