A closed picnic area at Main Beach in Byron Bay. The council has closed various areas to help hamper the spread of COVID-19.
A closed picnic area at Main Beach in Byron Bay. The council has closed various areas to help hamper the spread of COVID-19.

Drinking session and DUI lead to our first COVID-19 fines

TWO people in northern NSW have been fined for social distancing and isolation breaches.

It's understood they're the first fines issued for breaches to new rules aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), which fall under the Public Health Act

Tweed Byron Police District officers issued a penalty infringement notice to a 38-year-old woman who was found drinking with six other people in Jonson St, Byron Bay just before 6pm Saturday.

Officers had issued a warning to the woman earlier in the day after an earlier breach of the rules that fall under the Public Health Act.

Meanwhile Richmond Police District officers fined a 32-year-old man who had just returned from overseas and was not self-isolating.

Police pulled over the man's car, travelling on Ballina Rd at Goonellabah, at 10.20pm on Thursday, April 2.

The man was breath tested and returned a positive reading.

He was arrested and taken to Ballina Police Station for a breath analysis, which returned a reading of 0.132.

He was charged with mid-range drink-driving and after being granted conditional bail, he told police he had returned from Singapore on March 22, 11 days earlier.

He said he was self-isolating, but police found he had no reasonable excuse for leaving him home and issued him with a fine.

In a statement, Tweed Byron Police District said officers were "actively engaged" with COVID-19 tasks.

"Tweed Byron Police continue to respond to COVID-19 related jobs and tasks, including patrols of shopping centres, public parks, beaches, carparks and licensed premises," the statement said.

"Police are reminding people that fines exist for breaching isolation and quarantine orders and will be enforced.

"The message is clear, if it is not essential, please remain at home, comply with orders, avoid public gatherings, wash your hands regularly, maintain social distancing and be kind to each other."


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