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Australians face fines of up to $13,000 for leaving home

by Steve Haydon (2020-05-14)

Australians will fined up to $13,000 for breaking tough new coronavirus rules that limit public gatherings to two people.

EX8GA9lUwAAFmox.jpg%5CPrime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced the two-person rule, while urging those over 70 to stay at home and ordering the closure of playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gyms. 

Queenslanders who break the rules will get an on the spot fine of $13,345, while businesses in the state will cop a penalty of $66,672, police said on Monday. 

Victorians who are caught outside with more than one other person will be slapped with a $1,652 on the spot fine from Tuesday. 

New South Wales is expected to follow suit and has warned punishments for flouting the new measures would most likely be in line with previous restrictions, which have been enforced under the Public Health Act.

Breaches of the Act currently carry $11,000 fines, six months in jail or a $1,000 on-the-spot police fine. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday night confirmed the state would enforce the new rules around social distancing.

'Following national cabinet, NSW will move quickly to enforce additional restrictions on gatherings to slow COVID-19,' the Premier tweeted on Sunday night.

Recently arrived overseas travellers get off their bus and wait to check in at the Crown Promenade Hotel in Melbourne on Sunday. Travellers who arrive into the country today from overseas are being sent straight to makeshift quarantine facilities across Australia

Scott Morrison urged those over 70 or with chronic illnesses to stay home, and said state and territory governments are moving to ban landlords from evicting tenants

Mr Morrison said the states 'aren't mucking around' when it comes to enforcing the new rules.  

'They're very, very serious. And states like New South Wales and Victoria will move further down onto those two person rules, is my understanding,' he said.

'But states and agen bola online territories will make their own announcements about those issues.'

The two-person limit doesn't apply to workplaces, offices, schools and households. 

It applies to all indoor settings, including private properties and homes.

People who live alone can only invite one friend over, while households of two people or more can't have any visitors.

A family split across two houses can meet in private, allowing people to visit their partner, siblings or parents. 

Travellers will spend 14 days of quarantine in state-funded hotel rooms, with doors guarded by state police, defence personnel or private security guards. The travellers pictured above are among them 

The prime minister urged all Australians to only leave their homes to buy essential supplies, to exercise, to attend personal medical appointments and to go to work or school - if unable to work or obtain an education from home.

'Every single Australian needs to take this seriously or community transmission could get out of control and we could have a situation as terrible as even they are seeing in the US at the moment,' he said.   

Mr Morrison also strongly advised that anyone over 70 stay home for their own safety, except for going for a daily walk in the fresh air.

'States and territories will term whether they proceed to make this an enforceable limit in the same way that the 10-person limit is already been enforced,' he said.  

Mr Morrison made it clear the advice about gatherings of more than two people was for all circumstances, not just for social occasions in homes.

'That provides, importantly, for those who may be getting daily exercise, particularly for women, that they wouldn't be required to walk on their own and they be able to be walk with another person,' he said.

The death toll rose on Monday afternoon to 18 after an elderly woman died in Tasmania