26 September 2023

Police plant foot on virus rules

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ACT Policing is to continue targeting social distancing and essential travel restrictions after a busy Easter Weekend on Canberra roads.

Chief Police Officer with ACT Policing, Ray Johnson said the police were generally happy with the community over Easter but said there were still some residents who put themselves above the safety of the entire community.

“Before the long weekend, I said this would be an Easter like no other, with Canberrans encouraged to stay home, not go interstate or to family gatherings, and most people heeded that message,” Chief Police Officer Johnson said.

“That said, we still saw many drivers on the roads unnecessarily, people attending large gatherings, and people not practising social distancing directions in places like the area around Lake Burley Griffin.”

Chief Officer Johnson thanked the Canberrans who did the right thing over the Easter break and warned that the targeting of COVID-19 measures would continue.

“The health directions are in place to protect everyone’s safety – by reducing our movement in the community and spending as little time with as few people as possible.”

Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations at ACT Policing, Detective Station Sergeant Marcus Boorman said the weekend operations revealed that some drivers “still didn’t understand what essential travel was”.

“We saw far too many people on the road over the long weekend who probably didn’t need to be out and about,” Det Station Sgt Boorman said.

“Police spoke with one driver who thought it would be a good idea to tow a caravan into NSW, which is surprising given our warnings.”

Across the four days, police spoke with close to 400 drivers about the purpose of their travel, with 46 drivers choosing to return home after speaking with the police.

Det Station Sgt Boorman said ACT Policing’s response to COVID-19 remained a staged one.

“We will educate before providing warnings and fines,” he said.

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