Wagga police are cracking down on social distancing regulations after the NSW Government announced tighter restrictions and heavier penalties overnight.
Penalties of $11,000 or six months jail time is what the public now faces should they fail to comply with new rules to not leave the home without a reasonable excuse, or to be in the company of more than one other person who is not living in the same household.
Wagga police Superintendent Bob Noble said officers would exercise the "power of discretion" when dishing out fines.
"The power of discretion is one of the strongest powers police have, it should be used responsibly but also in certain circumstances such as this, liberally used," he said.
"We aren't going to drop a huge fine on three people walking down the street, within reason, we will try and give warnings first for those genuinely making a mistake, but after a warning, action will be taken."
Superintendent Noble said police had already begun to crackdown on individuals disobeying new laws.
"We are currently investigating an alleged breach by individuals in the eastern part of the Riverina, and if it is found that they broke the law knowingly, we will take action," he said.
"So it is starting now, we are ramping up our watch."
The welfare of individuals was also a key focus of police, according to Superintendent Noble.
"While the focus is on compliance to new regulations, it is also on welfare," he said.
"People subject to isolation orders are, in every respect, victims, and we need to check that they are alright because they have no other option but to stay home.
"Everyone has a neighbour they might be concerned about, and if there are concerns that aren't being catered to, reach out."
Superintendent Noble reiterated to the public that "Police will always help, 24/7, every single day of the year".
"We need to emphasise that anyone finding themselves isolated is a victim, even if they are then subject to a hefty fine for breaking that isolation, it is because we want to stop others becoming victims too," he said.
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While those living under the same roof such as families are allowed to be in a group larger than two persons, Superintendent Noble urged people to exercise reason.
"The prohibition of more than two persons together does not apply to families, but I urge that stepping out as a family of four, five or more should be avoided," he said.
"Even things like pushing a baby in a pram around town with your partner is advised against, don't do that if you really don't need to.
"You are exposing the community to a significant degree of risk."
Carrying identification both in the home and in public was also advised by Superintendent Noble.
"Under new legislation, police can demand identification at a place of residence, so it is best to carry ID at most times," he said.
"If you are out and about in a public space that warrants further scrutiny, you will be asked for ID and you will need to provide that to police."
Limits of nonessential travel will also be monitored by police, but Superintendent Noble reiterated that they will use their power of discretion.
"Police aren't going to routinely pull over vehicles with more than two people because our resources are strained, but we will assume in good faith that they are travelling for essential services," he said.
"Obviously though, as an example, if you had 25 20-year-olds driving around in a bus with an esky full of beer, they wouldn't be exempt. Common sense must be exercised."
Superintendent Noble reminded the public that children were at particular risk of mental health ramifications both in the short and long term.
"We do have to think particularly of the long term psychological impact on children," he said.
"Young people have not always made sense of the broader world yet and huge, global events such as this will have an impact on them, so we need to have an eye on that as parents and responsible community members."
Under the new NSW legislation, corporations that fail to comply with a direction are also liable to penalties. They could cop a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.
The new restrictions and penalties officially came into affect as of midnight into Tuesday, March 31.