POLICE in regional areas have ramped up their COVID-19 patrols, enforcing the rules that apply to two-person gathering and leaving the home.

Bass Coast Police have established a COVID-19 unit which has a list of addresses in the local area that they are visiting on a random basis.

They also have patrols out enforcing rules applied to the operation of businesses, people gathering and their reasons for leaving home.

Police locally have already issued fines for “non-essential travel” and according to Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton 142 fines were issued statewide in the past 24 hours, to 8am Sunday, April 5.

Residents can only leave the house for one of five essential reasons. These are:

* Shopping for food or other essential goods and services

* Work and education

* Care and compassionate reasons

* Exercise

* Other extenuating circumstances

The two-person gathering rules also apply inside and outside the home. This rule exempts people who live in the same household, whether this be a family unit or roommates.

Here is a report of provisional Victoria Police statistics up until 8am, Sunday, April 5, 2020.

* In the past 24 hours, Victoria Police conducted 751 spot checks at homes, businesses and non-essential services across the state as part of Operation Sentinel

* 142 fines have been issued in the past 24 hours. The total number of fines is now 199.

* Since 21 March, police have conducted a total of 13,292 spot checks.

In the past 24 hours, Victoria Police officers have issued 142 fines to those breaching the directions given by the Chief Health Officer in relation to staying at home, restricted activity and isolation directions as per the State of Emergency declared in Victoria.

The total number of fines is now 199.

Stay home, say police

Majority of these breaches, according to police, were in relation to people being out of their usual place of residence and attending disruptive parties in houses, or gathering in public parks.

These were occurring state-wide in places such as Point Cook, Horsham, Ringwood, Nurrabiel and Flemington.

This type of conduct is simply unacceptable and unfortunately it seems some people in the community are still not getting the message.

The message is very clear to the Victorian community.

There are only four reasons why you should leave home – to get essential goods and services, for care and other compassionate reasons, to work or study, or to exercise. Outside of these reasons, people must stay home.

Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said, “while the majority of the Victorian community are doing the right thing, there are people that continue to flout the rules and put people’s lives at risk. Our message is this – people should not be leaving their own home for any reason other than the four we have described, if they do there is every chance they will receive a significant fine.”

Police will always apply common sense and in certain circumstances officers will still use discretion, however the expectation on all police officers across the state is that the restrictions are to be enforced.

If a person is in breach of the restrictions around gatherings of more than two people inside or outside the home, or leaving the home for a reason that is not to seek food and supplies, medical care, to exercise, or attend work or education then they will receive an infringement notice of $1652.