Hiding behind a shower curtain and pretending to be delivering a package were not enough to save two men from being slapped with $1000 fines for attending an illegal gathering in Sydney’s east on Friday afternoon.
The fines were among 167 infringements issued by NSW Police on Friday for breaches of COVID-19 public health orders.
The men were sprung at a home in Randwick at around 1pm on Friday, after police got a tip about a potential gathering.
Police spoke to two men outside the property. One told them he was delivering a package – but police say he had no package.
When they entered the home, they found a man hiding behind a shower curtain in the bathroom.
In total, there were eight men at the property, aged between 31 and 50. Three were residents and five lived in southwest Sydney. All were fined for breaching orders, which prevent visitors to homes in Greater Sydney.
An 18th birthday party at The Entrance on the Central Coast was also busted by cops on Friday evening.
A 17-year-old girl at the house party was issued a warning, and five others aged between 18 and 22 were issued $1000 fines.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Saturday said it was frustrating to see people continue to have parties.
“It is frustrating because it affects all of us,” she said.
“We are not asking for much… Can I please urge people to look inside themselves, to really dig deep into their own consciences and do the right thing, if not for yourself, think about your closest loved ones.
“Think about the rest of us.”
An illegal party in inner city Waterloo late last month sparked a cluster that now tallies 35 cases, with ten more recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.
There were 50 locally acquired cases diagnosed in that 24-hour period in total, the highest daily number in the state since the first COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020.
Sixty-seven of the infringement notices were issued in southwest Sydney, NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Worboys said.
The area has since Friday been the epicentre of a high-visibility police operation designed to enforce compliance with public health orders.
Mr Worboys said the overwhelming feedback from police was that residents in the area were being compliant.
The operation will now expand to areas where case numbers are growing, like Sutherland, Hurstville and Miranda in the city’s south.
“We really want people to take responsibility for their own actions. We want people to realise that the decisions they make will affect what happens over the next days,” he said.
Seventy-six of Friday’s infringements were $200 fines for failing to wear a mask.
Ten further people were charged with failing to comply with public health orders. All of those charges were associated with other criminal offences, police say.