Dedicated police patrols are operating 24/7 in South Gippsland and Bass Coast following up on reports of COVID-19 breaches and conducting surveillance.

VICTORIA Police have just issued their latest Operation Sentinel statistics (up until 11pm, Thursday, April 16, 2020) showing that a further 67 fines have been issued across the state in the past 24 hours.

However, while police have also conducted 540 spot checks at homes, businesses and non-essential services, neither Bass Coast nor South Gippsland police have “isolation checks” on their books.

“We have previously been conducting home isolation checks but the 14 days is up on the last of those and we presently don’t have any addresses that we are checking,” said Acting Sergeant Julian Wildenberg, located at the Wonthaggi Police Station.

“However we have designated patrols, both am and pm, following up on social distancing and stay-at-home rules as well as unauthorised gatherings.

“And infringements have been issued by police in this area in the past seven days for offences against the COVID-19 laws.”

As an example, Act Sgt Wildenberg said an individual had been charged by police with drugs offences in the Coronet Bay area and was also hit with breaches under the COVID-19 legislation as well.

There have been other offences.

Other examples of breaches that resulted in fines over the past 24 hours across the state include:

  • 13 people gathered at a private residence playing poker.
  • Four people gathering at a friend’s house

From Monday, March 30 2020 there are only four reasons to be out:

  • Shopping for what you need – food and essential supplies
  • Medical, care or compassionate needs
  • Exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
  • Work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely

Victoria Police have been given the power to issue on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses who refuse or fail to comply with the Chief Health Officer and Deputy Chief Health Officer emergency directions or public health risk directions. Fines can also be issued to those who refuse or fail to comply with a direction by the Chief Health Officer to provide information.  Larger fines can also be issued through the courts.

This means persons or businesses could be fined on the spot:

  • If they fail to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving at an airport in Victoria from a flight originating from overseas, as set out in the Airport Arrivals Direction.
  • If they organise or attend a mass gathering prohibited by the Prohibited Gatherings Direction.
  • If they organise or attend a wedding that has present more than the two persons being married, the celebrant, and two witnesses, or a funeral that has more than 10 persons, as prohibited by the Prohibited Gatherings Direction.