Stronger enforcement action for COVID-19 breaches

COVID-19

ACT Policing’s Territory Targeting Team conducted more than 400 COVID-19 compliance checks since Friday (10 July 2020) of people in quarantine and businesses operating under Stage 2.2 restrictions.

Police issued no infringement notices or formal warnings to people or business premises. However, a number of businesses are required to tighten COVID-19 measures and controls.

There was 100% compliance of people in quarantine at hotels or at home.

“Last week, when I announced police would be taking a zero-tolerance stance to breaches of people in quarantine, I hoped we wouldn’t need to issue any fines. I’m happy to say that so far, Canberrans have done the right thing,” Chief Police Officer for the ACT Neil Gaughan said.

“Compliance checks were conducted on 367 people over the past three days in hotels and at home, and all 367 people were where they had to be.

“What I am concerned about going forward is a small number of businesses that aren’t fully complying with all health directions. So let me be clear, any business found intentionally breaching COVID-19 health directions will be issued with an infringement notice.

“We have all had many weeks to become familiar with, and fully understand, the health advice so any business not following directions can now expect stronger enforcement action. Police will always have discretion when enforcing laws, but there is no excuse to risk the safety of the Canberra community.”

More ACT residents are due to return to the ACT over the next few days. Detective Superintendent Jason Kennedy, from the ACT Policing COVID-19 Taskforce issued a reminder to them, and the wider community, that it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the health directions.

“Over the weekend, officers conducted compliance checks on hundreds of homes, thirteen hotels and many business premises across the ACT. We worked closely with ACT Health and Access Canberra, because this is a coordinated effort to keep our community as safe as possible,” said Detective Superintendent Kennedy.

“A handful of businesses had minor issues that I hope will be resolved quickly, and I’d like to thank them for their cooperation. We will continue to monitor business compliance, and if any business is still not following the health directions, like not having a COVID Safe plan, police will issue an infringement.

“I’d also particularly like to thank the people in isolation for the warm reception they’ve shown police, although some of them may need a reminder to put some clothes on before they open the door for a compliance check. We did get a few surprises on the weekend.

“If you are self-isolating and need assistance, please stay where you are and reach out for help by contacting the COVID-19 hotline.”

For all general enquiries – including to make a report of non-compliance of public health directions with referrals to ACT Health Protection Services, ACT Policing or Access Canberra Fair Trading – you can contact the COVID-19 Helpline on 6207 7244 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week) or online form available here. For police assistance call 131 444 and only contact Triple Zero for emergencies.

Media enquiries

Police Media — (02) 5126 9070, act-police-media@afp.gov.au