‘Up to 60 COVID fines’ to be issued after Sydney house party
NSW Police have flagged their intention to fine up to 60 people for flouting COVID-19 restrictions at a house party in Schofields, in Sydney's west, overnight.
The warning comes after NSW's police boss yesterday warned that selfish people ignoring COVID-19 rules would no longer be let off with warnings, as the state battled to avoid a Victorian-style outbreak.
Police attended the Schofields party about 11.30pm last night after neighbours complained about the noise and discovered more than 60 gathered.
A helicopter, the dog squad and numerous police units attended the scene, with capsicum spray being used after a brawl broke out among 15 revellers at the party, police said.
Three men were taken to Blacktown Hospital, two of them suffering minor injuries from the fight and a third needing treatment for alcohol consumption.
Police arrested 30 people for failing to move on, and took 15 of them to the Riverstone Police Station.
Police have flagged their intention to fine up to 60 people at the party with $1000 COVID-19 fines, and the 30 people arrested will also face fines for refusing to leave when asked by police.
A week ago, police were called to house parties in the eastern suburbs Sydney of Bondi. People were moved on, but no fines were issued.
NSW public health restrictions limit the number of visitors to a house at any one time to 20. There is also a cap of 20 people on public outdoor gatherings.
Earlier yesterday NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller vowed to help NSW avoid a Victorian-style coronavirus outbreak.
He said while the JobKeeper allowance was a shield against the full economic brunt of the pandemic, he feared a crime spike once support ended and if unemployment rose.
NSW Police have flagged their intention to fine up to 60 people for flouting COVID-19 restrictions at a house part in Schofields, in Sydney's west, overnight. It comes as the state's police boss vows to crack down to avoid a second wave of coronavirus.
"We know that while people are getting JobKeeper and JobSeeker they have money in their pocket," he told The Sunday Telegraph.
"The concern is when that gets turned off, what will people turn to?
"We know when petrol gets above $1.50 per litre, people will steal petrol much more readily.
"There is a price point to where sometimes good people will make bad decisions to break the law."
Mr Fuller said police were tracking unemployment trends and interest rates in a bid to plan for fluctuating crime rates in 2021.
NSW is at a "crucial point" in the fight against COVID-19, with 15 new cases recorded since Friday night, five linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster.
Victoria had two more deaths and recorded 217 new infections.
Mr Fuller has urged his officers to start issuing tickets for breaches of public health orders. "We have done our best to work with the community, as we always do, but I am not going to let NSW slip backwards because of selfish people," he said.
"While I have been asking police to work with the community and show a high level of discretion, that time is over now. I am saying to police: have the confidence, take the action."
Mr Fuller's warning came as people were warned to go home immediately after visiting a pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic - after reports many were going shopping or getting something to eat.
Pop-up clinics have sprouted all over the state, with many in or near shopping centre carparks to make it easier to drive in and out.
However, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association said it had reports from alarmed shopkeepers that many of those turning up to be tested were also using the opportunity to do some shopping.
Union state secretary Bernie Smith said retailers had seen people walking from a testing clinic to the mall, and also overhead customers discussing their test.
The union is putting up its own signs around these clinics telling people to go home.
NEW LIMITS ON ARRIVALS
Just 350 overseas arrivals a day will be allowed in to Sydney Airport from Monday under a deal between the state and federal governments.
The new agreement takes effect tomorrow, reducing the number of international passengers from 450 to 350.
Meanwhile, as of this morning, the state government will charge international travellers who arrive in Sydney for their hotel quarantine.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the reduction was necessary to ensure NSW remained in a strong position to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"NSW is the gateway to Australia and it is important passengers returning home do not overrun the capacity of NSW Health and hotel quarantine," she said.
"We must not let our guard down and this decision will further help keep us safe."