Jail or $11k fine: NSW's strict new COVID-19 laws in effect

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NSW residents face massive fines and even jail time if they break laws restricting non-essential travel and all gatherings to two people.

From Tuesday, people who leave their home without a valid reason - for work or study, buying food or other essentials, seeking medical care or exercise - are liable for a fine of up to $11,000 and a maximum six months in jail.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard signed the order under the Public Health Act at 10.20pm on Monday, just hours before it came into effect at midnight.

Individuals can also be fined for gathering indoors or outdoors in a group of more than two people, not including households or for essential work or study.

Anyone who breached the order would be fined an additional $5500 for every day they continued to break the law.

Corporations are liable for a fine of up to $55,000 and a further $27,500 for every day after that.

The federal government advice is that families - such as separated partners with children or couples who do not live together - are exempted from the two-person limit, but the NSW order does not specifically exclude these groupings from the gathering restrictions.

Mr Hazzard tweeted a picture of the order after signing it on Tuesday.

"10.20pm I just signed new restrictions on leaving residences. Public Health (Covid19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020," he said. "Message - Stay home unless you need to go out for essential reasons such as work, study, obtaining food (or) medical supplies."

Originally published as Jail or $11k fine: NSW's strict new COVID-19 laws in effect



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