Police have cracked down on hundreds of Australians breaching coronavirus restrictions this Easter long weekend.
Thousands of dollars of fines have been issued since Good Friday, mainly for non-essential travel.
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Health authorities flagged the long weekend as critical to keep the pandemic’s spread under control, each state issuing a “do not travel” plea.
However, the message didn’t appear to sink in for many.
Here are some of the more unusual fines issued.
Expensive Tinder date
A 27-year-old Cairns man took a chance on love by driving to Port Douglas to meet a woman via a dating app.
Police decided the 60km trek was not “essential travel” and slogged him with a $1,334 fine.
A 23-year-old man and two women, aged 17 and 20 were pulled over in Port Macquarie on Thursday night.
After providing the details of her twin sister, the 20-year-old woman attempted to leave the scene and a brief struggle ensued.
She was detained and all the occupants were issued a warning under the Public Health Act.
The 20-year-old woman was taken home by police but refused to enter the home, instead walking away and giving the officers an obscene hand gesture and stating she was going to a friend’s house and to leave the fine in the mailbox.
She was issued with a $1000 fine.
A wealthy businessman was fined, twice, for flouting the rules – by flying his helicopter to Moreton Island for a picnic.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told Seven’s Sunrise it was “disappointing”.
Moreton Island is closed off to visitors entirely to stem the spread of the virus.
Where’s my handbag?
A driver was charged after allegedly telling police she had lost her handbag and giving a false name when asked to produce her licence.
However, the handbag was in the centre console of the car.
A police check found the woman was disqualified from driving, and further searches of the car allegedly uncovered drugs and clothes believed to have been stolen.
She was fined for breaching COVID-19 rules and charged. She will appear in court on Wednesday.
On Saturday afternoon, police on the New South Wales’ Mid North Coast stopped a vehicle in Port Macquarie and spoke to a 26-year-old male driver and his 19-year-old female passenger.
The pair had been pulled over a day earlier and were warned their excuse of “just killing time” wasn’t adequate.
They were fined $1,000 each and the woman was given a Court Attendance Notice for possessing a prohibited drug after ice was allegedly found in the car.
Wanted to see sunrise
Five teenagers aged between 16 and 19 were each given $1,000 fines for gathering in a group of more than two outdoors.
They were found at the Hawkesbury Heights Lookout shortly after 6am on Saturday.
Police said their excuse of “we wanted to see the sunrise” was not adequate.
Learner’s ‘tipsy trip’
On Friday night, a 21-year-old learner driver was allegedly three times the legal blood alcohol limit when he crashed into traffic lights in Melbourne’s southeastern suburb of Keysborough.
He will foot the bill for the lights.
He was also fined $1,652 for breaching coronavirus restrictions.
A group of six told police they were “chilling out” when officers pulled up to a parked car late on Thursday night.
However, police will allege there was heroin and ice in the car.
Two men were given Court Attendance Notices and each of the six given $1,000 fines before being moved on.
Victoria Police fined eight people who were having a party and playing loud music in St Kilda East on Easter Sunday.
They also caught a number of overseas tourists having a party at a rented short-stay property in Cowes.
Victoria has the strictest individual fines for people breaching COVID-19 rules at $1,652 for individuals.
Plenty of warning
State authorities had warned Australians that police would be out in force over the Easter weekend.
It follows Health Minister Greg Hunt saying Easter was “the most important weekend we may face”.
“As we go into Easter with welcome news for Australia, the virus does not take a holiday, therefore none of us can relax what we do,” he said.
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“This, in many ways, is the most important weekend we may face in the whole course of the virus.
“If we can lock in the gains that we’ve made as a nation through the courage and sacrifice of those on the health, medical and policing frontlines, but also through the immense goodwill and discipline of Australians, then we can help really protect Australian lives going forward and give ourselves the pathway through.”