Police in Greater Sydney will have the power to close down construction sites where public health orders are not followed.

As construction sites throughout most of Greater Sydney are set to reopen from Saturday, the NSW Government has announced that the NSW Policy Commissioner will have new powers to shut down businesses who flout COVID-19 rules.

This includes construction sites along with premises which are open to the public.

Penalties for not wearing masks have been increased from $200 to $500.

Meanwhile, residents of eight local government areas will be subject to further restriction of rules.

Under these rules:

  • Exercise, outdoor recreation and singles bubble visits must be done within 5kms of the person’s home
  • Individuals cannot travel more than 5kms from home for shopping, unless the goods or services are not readily available in that area
  • Masks must be worn at all times outside the home regardless of proximity to others.

The latest moves come as construction sites throughout most of Greater Sydney are expected to reopen on Saturday.

As a condition of reopening, builders and tradespeople who operate on non-occupied premises throughout Greater Sydney will need to have a COVID-safe plan and will need to observe COVID safe practices relating to worker and visitor wellbeing, physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning and record keeping.

Density limits will also apply (refer article) whilst work on occupied premises can occur only where occupants are able to vacate whilst work is being done.

The moves come as thousands of police are expected to be deployed across Greater Sydney in an operation designed to crack down on non-compliance with public health orders following last week’s protests.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the new restrictions follow a call from the vast majority in the community who are doing the right thing by complying with the Public Health Orders.

“The time for warnings is over,” Elliot said.

“I know 99 per cent of the population are furious with the minority who continue to disregard the health orders and put the safety and livelihoods of families at risk.”

“Crime Stoppers received more than 15,000 calls and reports providing information following last weekend’s illegal protest.

Police made it clear from the start, they want to educate – not fine – members of the community but the 15,000 calls to Crime Stoppers is a clear message to the Government that the community expects action. “If we all work together, these new rules have the potential to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.”