For many, the Easter long weekend is a time spent celebrating with family and loved ones.
A lot of plans to do so will be cancelled this year to comply with social distancing and public gathering restrictions.
For those thinking about hitting the road to visit family or get away, an ACT Policing spokesperson told Canberra Weekly they will have a visible presence on Canberra’s roads this long weekend, including on major highways in and out of the ACT.
“We will be conducting an Easter Traffic Operation, targeting breach of road rules, in particular the ‘fatal five’, but will also be using each interaction with the community to educate and reinforce health directions and social distancing messages,” they said.
“We do not want people going to the South Coast for a holiday break when there is clear health advice about the risk of travel to communities across Australia.”
ACT Policing’s message to all Canberrans is to stay home, which is being echoed by their NSW counterparts.
“Our colleagues across the border have provided clear warnings that people without a reasonable excuse for being in NSW may face fines,” the spokesperson said.
The NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command today reminded the community that travelling for holidays is not considered ‘essential’ travel and their officers will be out in force over the long weekend.
NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott MP said it is not the time to be out on the roads unless it is necessary.
“Those who are driving on the roads during this long weekend will need to have a good reason to do so, but, like always, they need to abide by the road rules,” he said.
Double demerit points commence in the ACT and NSW from 12.01am tomorrow 9 April to 11.59pm Monday 13 April.
Canberrans obeying social distancing restrictions
ACT Chief Police Officer Ray Johnson told a press conference today that zero fines for social distancing or public gathering breaches have been handed out in the ACT to date.
“The vast majority of the events the police are called to or where the police interact with the community, people are actually being compliant, or they understand the issue, go about their business and change their behaviour,” he said.
ACT Policing’s response to COVID-19 directions remains a staged one – educating first before moving to warnings and fines.
“Most people are trying to do the right thing and ACT Policing’s job is to help them do so,” he said.
“Where there are flagrant breaches, and people are committing serious offences, ACT Policing members will not hesitate to take action.”
Officer Johnson also noted that ACT Policing are continuing to enforce school zone speed limits due to “some schools still have students coming and going from them” until end of term one on 9 April.