NSW police have dished out thousands in Covid fines in relation to an unlawful beach party in Sydney as authorities crack down on group gatherings as the city's lockdown drags on.
On Wednesday, police dished out a total of $9000 in fines – $1000 each to nine men in in their late teens and early twenties – over a beach gathering last month in the Maroubra area which breached public health orders.
Police from the Eastern Beaches Police Area Command established Strike Force Travelstop to investigate reports of a number of large gatherings at Maroubra in mid-August.
The various parties reportedly involved dozens of people who had since returned a positive Covid-19 test result, authorities said.
"As part of the investigation, police have established that a number of people gathered at Malabar Headland during the evening of Friday 23 July 2021. It is suspected that this party is also linked to cases of Covid-19," NSW police said in a statement.
A separate gathering at Maroubra which had publicly drawn the ire of health officials remains under investigation.
Last month, the state's Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant lamented a Maroubra party that became a superspreader event.
"There was a gathering in Maroubra, and 11 people attending that gathering have tested positive," she said.
"I understand why people are tired and fatigued. But we just cannot have that occurring, where we end up with a further escalation of cases associated with events that are not permitted at this time."
At the time of her comments, less than two weeks ago, the state's daily cases numbers were about half of what they have since grown to, as NSW recorded 1,116 cases on Wednesday.
"Investigations into the August gatherings at Maroubra are continuing," NSW police said.
Authorities recently increased the cost of fines for certain breaches of the public health orders and conducted a blitz in August as premier Gladys Berejiklian called for greater compliance to lockdown measures.
Under the current legislation, NSW Police may issue on-the-spot fines to individuals including:
$1,000 for breach of a public health order
$3,000 for participating in an outdoor gathering of more than 2 people
$500 for failure to comply with a direction to wear or carry a mask for those aged 18 years or older
$80 for failure to comply with a direction to wear or carry a mask for those aged 16 or 17 years of age
$5000 for failure to comply with the obligation to answer questions asked by a contact tracer, provide your name and contact details to a contact tracer, and provide true and accurate information to a contact tracer
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