Coronavirus fines: Who is at risk and how much will they cost you?

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Police across the country are out in force cracking down on Australians not abiding by strict social distancing and self quarantining rules as cases of coronavirus continue to surge.

Those caught flouting the rules can face thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time, and if rule-breakers live in NSW they can now be hit with a penalty by police on the spot.

The federal government has banned all non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people along with outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people, with penalties applying to those who ignore the rules.

Fines in NSW for coronavirus isolation breaches

Individuals can be slapped with a $1000 fine for breaching quarantine or social distancing rules, and businesses identified to be operating in ways they shouldn’t be can be hit with a $5000 fine.

NSW police handed over the first penalties of their kind on Thursday after being given additional powers that came into force on Wednesday at midnight.

Traffic on The Pacific Highway in New South Wales near the Queensland Border after it was closed midnight Wednesday. Source: AAP

People in NSW could be hit with fines up to $11,000 or face six months behind bars if they are found not complying with the mandatory 14-day self-isolation quarantine requirement.

This applies to people who returned from overseas, those in close contact with people who recently returned, or who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Coronavirus live blog: Latest news and updates

“Obviously the NSW government – indeed all governments around the country – are not wanting to impose penalties on people,” health minister Brad Hazzard said.

“What we’re looking for is cooperation.”

Businesses and corporations found in breach of bans restricting outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people in NSW can be fined $55,000 and $27,500 for every day it continues to be in breach.

Coronavirus fines in Victoria

The Police Association has also called for a state of disaster to be declared, which would give its members greater powers during the health emergency.

Police can issue a fine of nearly $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies found to be breaking the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule, unless they have a legitimate emergency or are seeking medical care.

The same penalties apply to people breaking the rules surrounding mass gatherings, and those still operating businesses that do not fall into the “essential” category.

Victorian leaders have joined those in NSW in foreshadowing further shutdowns, potentially including a full lockdown, if the increase in new cases doesn't slow.

NSW Police patrolling Bondi Beach after thousands were captured in breach of social distancing rules last week. Source: AAP

Fines in Queensland for breaching coronavirus guidelines

Queensland also has strict rules demanding that people go into self quarantine when they arrive back from overseas and will be hit with harsh penalties if they ignore them.

Health authorities have been given new powers under the state of emergency to order individuals into isolation, and to fine people more than $13,000 if they defy such orders.

The cancellations and postponements in the wake of the ban are said to have crippled the event industry with estimated losses expected to be more than $10 million over the next six months.

Following the closure of its borders this week, quarantine rules also apply to anyone entering the state from other parts of Australia.

Border travel is now being policed by RBT-style checkpoints with officers stationed to determine who needs to cross and allowing them through quickly. 

Coronavirus fines in the Northern Territory

Anyone who wants to enter the Northern Territory must submit arrival cards with relevant information about what their plans are and self-isolate for 14 days.

Some exemptions apply, including for those carrying essential freight for supply chains such as food and health, and fly-in fly-out workers if their employers satisfy guidelines.

Breaking self-isolation requirements carries penalties of $1,256 or six months in prison, with a 90-day public health emergency having also been declared for the state.

Police on standby inside a Coles supermarket following unsociable behaviour over toilet paper. Source: AAP

Fines in the ACT for ignoring coronavirus quarantine

Anyone caught breaching quarantine requirements or attending a large gathering in the Australian Capital Territory will be penalised accordingly.

Canberrans could face fines of up to $9000 for not obeying containment measures.

The state’s emergency declaration has also given the ACT's chief health officer more powers to enforce isolation and quarantine requirements.

Fines in WA for breaching coronavirus state of emergency

After being declared a state of emergency, overseas arrivals who breach the 14-day self-isolation period will face the nation's toughest penalties with fines up to $50,000.

Premier Mark McGowan urged people to report anyone defying the ban to police.

“Public health officers, with the assistance of police, will be able to enforce it.”

He said authorities had a list of names from airlines “so there is the opportunity to follow this up”.

Traffic at the Queensland border. Anyone entering the state and not abiding by the rules will be penalised. Source: AAP

Fines in South Australia for breaking coronavirus rules

Anyone entering South Australia will have to agree to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days or face fines of up to $20,000.

The border closure was announced on Sunday and came into effect on Tuesday afternoon with police now stationed on 12 checkpoints as well as monitoring rail and air arrivals.

Those without exemptions will be asked to sign a declaration that they will place themselves in isolation for 14 days.

Exemptions will apply to people who regularly cross the border for work and for emergency and essential services including freight.

Coronavirus fines in Tasmania for not self isolating

Anyone entering Tasmania is subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation period, with measures being policed by border control.

Patrol stations at 12 entry points on the island state are being monitored 24 hours a day, with people entering the state forced to sign a declaration agreeing to self-isolate.

The new penalty for breaching this quarantine is a fine of $16,800 or six months in jail.

The premier on Tuesday also announced people trying to enter Tasmania via its ferry service would be turned away unless they had a good reason.

- with AAP

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