20 July 2020

Police warn businesses they have no COVID excuses now

| Ian Bushnell
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Canberra Police

Police on patrol in Civic. There are concerns that a small number of businesses are still not following all health directions. Photo: File.

Police have warned ACT businesses that they will not tolerate any breaches of COVID-19 restrictions, after a weekend of compliance checks found some restaurants were not up to scratch.

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

Police did not issue any infringement notices or formal warnings to people or business premises but several businesses were required to tighten their COVID-19 measures and controls.

People in quarantine at hotels or at home were fully compliant.

But Chief Police Officer for the ACT Neil Gaughan said he was concerned that a small number of businesses were not following all health directions.

“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,” he said.

”So let me be clear, any business found intentionally breaching COVID-19 health directions will be issued with an infringement notice.”

The CPO said businesses had had plenty of time to get used to the rules and they could 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,” he said.

Detective Superintendent Jason Kennedy, from the ACT Policing COVID-19 Taskforce, reminded Canberrans returning to the ACT, 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,” Detective Superintendent Kennedy said.

“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.”

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