The Coronavirus pandemic is changing the way of life for millions of people around the globe. The citizens of Western Australia are no exception.
Here at Lawson Legal, we want to help our friends and neighbours during this difficult time. Factual information is one of the many casualties of this pandemic. Misinformation comes from all fronts; everyone from the person delivering your pizza to a member of parliament has something to say that can be confusing, contradictory, or wrong.
So, here are a few helpful facts about the pandemic as well as the legal consequences of defying the Coronavirus restrictions.
NOTE: Lawson Legal remains open during this time. We are, however, remaining vigilant and ensuring that distancing and hygiene recommendations are followed.
What Are the Latest Restrictions Regarding Social Distancing in WA?
At the present time, the government of Western Australia is easing restrictions in small ways. The latest limitations as of Monday, April 27 include the following changes:
Indoor or outdoor of up to ten people can take place in WA under the following conditions:
- No work-related gatherings
- Outdoor personal training with no sharing of equipment
- Home opens
- Inspections for display villages
Which Restrictions Remain Unchanged for the Time Being?
The Western Australia Coronavirus restrictions that the government enforces include:
- Bars, food vans, food courts, restaurants, and cafes are closed to the public but may offer takeaway food or delivery.
- Public playgrounds, outdoor public gym equipment, and skate parks are off-limits and shall remain closed
- No access to houses of worship, community halls, cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, and galleries
- Swimming pools, gyms and venues for indoor sports, theatres, cinemas, casinos, and nightclub closings
- Closing of amusement parks arcades, and play centres
- No access to nail salons, tattoo parlours, tanning facilities, beauty treatment salons, and spas
- Border restrictions remain in place
What Other Safety Measures Has Western Australia Enacted?
One WA response gaining attention during the pandemic is the implementation of hard border closings. A hard border closing is when travel restrictions occur at boundaries, as opposed to travellers having permission to pass freely between locations.
During the border closing, the Western Australia government is paying close attention to protecting the indigenous population. The health care in remote regions is not suited to treat a large influx of patients with the life-threatening Coronavirus.
At this time, only exempt travellers may cross borders within Western Australia.
Those with exempt status include:
- Senior government officials
- Active members of the military
- A person with specialist skills not found in WA
- Entering on compassionate grounds
- Emergency workers
- Judicial officers
- Persons who will face exceptional hardship if they are not permitted entry
What Does the Government Consider Social Distancing?
Proper social distancing is generally about protecting yourself and other people from the Coronavirus by limiting proximity and interaction.
In addition to this, social distancing should be accompanied by frequent handwashing (for at least 20 seconds) coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, as well as using a hand sanitising product if soap and water are unavailable.
What Are the Legal Consequences of Disobeying the Social Distancing Orders?
As citizens become accustomed to a new way of life during the Coronavirus outbreak, officials fear a lack of response to the rules of social distancing. The relatively low numbers of infection and death from the Coronavirus is a sign that the measures put in place by the government are working.
Unfortunately, some people see a lack of devastation as a reason to ignore the social distancing. Not only is this belief incorrect, but it also puts countless people in danger. While Western Australia’s law enforcement officers tend to offer a warning when they see a lack of social distancing, there are consequences for those who ignore the mandates. These include:
- Officers are authorised to issue fines of $1,000 on the spot to those blatantly disregarding social distancing.
- Should a case come against you in court, your fine can reach $50,000 for lack of social distancing.
Although Western Australia, along with the rest of the world, is still in the pandemic’s grasp. However, some good news came from the Western Australia Department of Health. As of April 26, there were no new reports of Coronavirus cases.
You can rest assured that here at Lawson Legal, we are keeping an eye out for you and yours. If you have any questions about the legalities and limitations of the social distancing laws and penalties, please do not hesitate to contact us for legal advice and answers.