A Sydney massage parlour has become the first small business in NSW to be fined for flouting coronavirus lockdowns as authorities across the country step up efforts to enforce trading restrictions.
Sydney police said a Sussex Street business owner was issued a $5,000 Penalty Infringement Notice on Thursday after failing to close in the wake of restrictions on personal services firms.
Three staff members were also issued $1,000 fines after being asked to show up to work on Thursday.
The penalties resulted from a “proactive policy operation to ensure individuals and businesses were complying with all ministerial directions related to COVID-19”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the latest round of business lockdowns on Tuesday night, advising personal services firms such as nail salons and massage parlours they would need to close.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliot, said police are out in full force and will find businesses flouting trading restrictions.
“No one is above the law. If you decide to ignore a direction, you will be caught, and you may very well find yourself slapped with a hefty fine,” he said in a statement circulated late Thursday night.
“The fact that people are still not complying is the reason why we have police out in full force enforcing these directions.
“This behaviour is not only reckless and stupid, but potentially deadly.”
The number of fines issued to businesses is likely to increase in the coming weeks as Victoria and New South Wales prepare to move to stricter stage three trading restrictions.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian are expected to push for additional lockdowns in Australia’s two most populous states at a National Cabinet meeting on Friday morning, amid ongoing efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.