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Police break up backpackers' rooftop party at hostel - but don't fine them

Backpackers partying on the rooftop of a Sydney hostel were paid a visit by police after locals raised concerns over suspected breaches of coronavirus rules.

NSW Police arrived at Mad Monkey in Kings Cross on Tuesday about 7.15pm where several attendees were captured socialising in close contact with each other.

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Officers attached to the Kings Cross Police Area Command attended the Bayswater Road hostel and reminded management of “social distancing obligations in accordance with ministerial directions”.

The backpackers were shown socialising in close proximity to each other on the hostel's rooftop. Source: 7 NEWS
The backpackers were shown socialising in close proximity to each other on the hostel's rooftop. Source: 7 NEWS

‘No further action’ taken on backpackers

Police told Yahoo News Australia that “no further action” was required after that.

Officers reportedly dispersed members of the crowd, who told 7 News they believed they weren’t technically in breach of social distancing rules because they were all living at the hostel together.

NSW Health confirmed hostels should ensure guests abide by social distancing rules requiring there be four square metres of space allocated to each person at all times.

Under a current public health order, businesses should not allow people to congregate, whether in an outdoor or indoor space, if there isn’t four square metres of space allocated for each person.

Yahoo News Australia contacted Mad Monkey which refused to comment on the matter.

Stay inside unless it’s essential

The latest restrictions, rolled out midnight on Monday, required everyone in NSW to stay inside unless for work or education, to buy essentials, for medical or compassionate reasons, or exercise.

Police said individuals found to be flouting the rules could face on-the-spot fines of $1000, and businesses a fine of up to $5000.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard ramped up the potential punishments repeat offenders could face, meaning individuals could be fined up to $11,000 and six months' imprisonment while businesses can be fined $55,000.

To avoid risking these penalties, people should not go outside with more than one person, or with people who are not members of their household.

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