Across the country yesterday, as both state and federal officials gave their daily media briefings, there was a unanimous message: do not travel over the Easter long weekend. While this four-day break is commonly used as a chance for a getaway, the risk of spreading Covid-19 from city hotspots to rural communities has led to a ban for all non-essential travel.
The majority of Australians have been compliant with physical distancing rules and other social restrictions introduced in recent weeks. However, there are still instances of people ignoring these containment measures, increasing the risk of further spreading the disease via community transmission, as was the case several weeks ago when thousands flocked to Bondi and Manly beaches.
In order to deter would-be holidaymakers from attempting an Easter escape regardless, NSW police commissioner Mike Fuller said there would be a greater police presence in regional NSW this weekend. Caravan parks across the state have already been visited by officers to ensure visitors return to their places of origin.
There will also be a one-strike policy introduced: those found to be breaking the travel ban will get a single warning, but if they fail to act on that warning and do not return home, they will be issued with a $1,000 fine. “The big focus will be on our country roads, those back streets, the main highways, the caravan parks right across country New South Wales,” Fuller said. “People will be given one opportunity to pack up, go back to your home state and go back home. Otherwise, we will, unfortunately, have to issue tickets.”