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Leaving home without a 'reasonable excuse’ risks $11,000 fine, six months jail'

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Brad Hazzard signed new restrictions on leaving residences under Public Health(Covid19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020. Picture: Twitter

Anyone in NSW who leaves their house without a "reasonable excuse" faces an $11,000 fine and a potential jail sentence under an emergency ministerial directive pushed through on Monday night. The public health order, which enforces Sunday's recommendations of the national cabinet, gives police powers to enforce the latest round of restrictions designed to limit the spread of coronavirus. 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

  • obtaining food or other goods and services, or

  • travelling for the purposes of work or education if the person cannot do it at home, or

  • exercise, or

  • medical or caring reasons.

In addition, it directs that a person must not participate in a gathering in a public place of more than two persons. Exceptions include gatherings of members of the same household, and 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 six 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.


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