Confused about COVID-19 Lockdown Laws?
Date: April 7, 2020
Struggling to keep up with the latest movement restrictions in NSW? Confused about what you are allowed to do and what you can not due amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Worried about what activities may lead you to be fined by police? Read on for some much needed clarification from HBA Legal Senior Associate Iona Sjahadi who has taken an up close look at Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 (NSW).
- The Minister has the Power to issue the order under the Public Health Act 2010
- Effective from 30 March 2020 in New South Wales (the following is correct as at 5 April 2020)
The object of this Order is to give certain Ministerial directions to deal with the public health risk of COVID- 19 and its possible consequences. In particular, this Order directs that a person must not, without reasonable excuse, leave the person’s place of residence.
Examples of a reasonable excuse include leaving for reasons involving- (a) obtaining food or other goods and services, or (b) travelling for the purposes of work or education if the person cannot do it at home, or ( c) exercise, or (d) medical or caring reasons.
In addition, this Order directs that a person must not participate in a gathering in a public place of more than 2 persons.
Exceptions include- (a) gatherings of members of the same household, and (b) gatherings essential for work or education.
Section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 creates an offence if an individual fails to comply with a direction with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 6 months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues. Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.
- You must stay home UNLESS you have a reasonable excuse to leave.
- No more than 2 people to gather in public UNLESS you have a reasonable excuse.
- Members of the same household can be in public together (e.g. a family of 4 or flatmates living in the same residence).
What is a reasonable excuse? Schedule 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.
- Travelling for the purposes of work if the person cannot work from the person’s place of residence.
- Travelling for the purposes of attending childcare (including picking up or dropping another person at childcare).
- 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.
- Obtaining medical care or supplies or health supplies or fulfilling carer’s responsibilities.
- Attending a wedding or a funeral in the circumstances referred to in clause 6(2)(d) and (e) or 7(1)(h).
- 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.
- Providing care or assistance (including personal care) to a vulnerable person or providing emergency assistance.
- Donating blood.
- Undertaking any legal obligations.
- Accessing public services (whether provided by government, a private provider or a non-government organisation), including- (a) social services, and (b) employment services, and (c) domestic violence services, and (d) mental health services, and (e) services provided to victims (including as victims of crime).
- 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.
- 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.
- Avoiding injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.
- For emergencies or compassionate reasons.
To find out which common activities are NOT classified as “reasonable excuses”, plus clarification of common “reasonable excuses”, click here (you will be taken to this full article).
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For any legal advice please contact us.