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Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions (NSW)

Written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. She also completed a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the College of Law in Victoria. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

From 15 May 2020, the COVID-19 restrictions in New South Wales will be relaxed. The restrictions have been in place since March and were imposed under orders by the Health Minister under the New South Wales Public Health Act 2010. The changes are the first stage in a three-sep plan for reopening Australia announced by the Prime Minister last week. Each state and territory will be implementing the three stages on its own timeline.

Outdoor gatherings

From 15 May, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted. Play equipment, skate parks, and outdoor gyms can be used and swimming pools will be allowed to reopen, with restrictions.

Indoor gatherings

Cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs will be permitted to serve up to 10 dine-in customers at a time, as well as providing take away options. Bars and gaming facilities will remain closed.

NSW residents will be allowed to have up to five visitors from different households at any time.

Weddings and funerals

Under the new COVID-19 restrictions, weddings will be allowed to have up to 10 guests and funerals can have up to 20 attendees if the funeral is held indoors and up to 30 mourners if it is held outdoors.

Owner and occupiers of premises

Under the new COVID-19 restrictions, the rules affecting owners and occupiers of premises remain in place. They must not allow their premises to be used for:

  • An outdoor gathering of more than 500;
  • An indoor gathering of more than 100;
  • A gathering where the amount of space is insufficient to ensure four square metres space around each person.

This restriction does not apply to essential gatherings, such as gatherings at hospitals, airports, prisons, emergency services, parliament, courts and tribunals, aged and disability care facilities, shops, hotels, office, farms, factories, warehouses or schools and universities or other educational or child care facilities.

Quarantine

The Public Health (COVID-19 Quarantine) Order 2020 came into force on the 17 March 2020 and will continue until 15 June 2020. While the order is in force, any person arriving in New South Wales within 14 days of travelling overseas must be quarantined for 14 days.

The person must immediately proceed to a place suitable for quarantine and remain there for the quarantine period except:

  • To obtain medical care or supplies;
  • Because of an emergency;
  • In circumstances where the person can avoid close contact with other persons.

A person in quarantine must not allow another person into the premises unless the other person usually resides at the premises, is also undergoing quarantine there or enters for medical or emergency purposes.

This restriction does not apply to flight crew or to those who arrive in a NSW airport and depart from the airport without leaving the airport.

Self-isolation

The Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order 2020 came into force on 26 March 2020 and will continue to be in force until 23 June 2020. Under the order, any person diagnosed with COVID-19 must travel directly to a place suitable to reside in or if determined necessary, to a hospital and remain there until medically cleared.

The person must not leave the place except:

  • To obtain medical care or supplies;
  • In an emergency.

The person must not permit others to enter the place unless:

  • The other person usually lives at the place or is also complying with a direction under the order;
  • The entry is for medical or emergency purposes;
  • The entry is to deliver food or other essential items.

The Minister may grant an exemption from this order if necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of the public.

Penalties

Non-compliance with any of the above orders is a criminal offence and can result in the following penalties.

For an individual:

  • A fine of up to $11,000; or
  • Imprisonment for up to six months; or
  • Both; plus
  • A further fine of up to $5,500 for each day that the offence continues.

The NSW police can also issue on-the-spot fines of $1000 for an offence.

For a corporation:

  • A fine of up to $55,000; plus
  • A further fine of $27,500 for each day the offence continues.

If you require legal advice or representation in relation to COVID-19 restrictions or in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

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