Sydney churchgoers fined $30,000 ahead of new curfew

Police issued 31 fines to those who attended a church service overnight in Sydney's Blacktown, ahead of a curfew coming into effect tonight.

People in Blacktown, west of Sydney, will be among those affected by a curfew which comes into effect today.

People in Blacktown, west of Sydney, will be among those affected by a curfew which comes into effect today. Source: AAP

People in Sydney's coronavirus hotspots are now subject to a night-time curfew and everyone in NSW must wear masks outside their homes under tougher lockdown measures.

After two consecutive days of COVID-19 case numbers over 800, a raft of new public health rules began at 12.01am on Monday.

The harsher measures include a 9pm to 5am curfew for those who live in a dozen Sydney local government areas of concern, and statewide mandatory mask-wearing when outdoors, except if exercising.

Meanwhile, NSW Police have issued thirty-one fines after a crowd attended a church service in the hotspot area of Blacktown in Sydney's west on Sunday night.

Police went to Christ Embassy Sydney church around 7.30pm on Sunday after being tipped off about a gathering in breach of public health orders.

They found a group of about 60 adults and children inside the Fourth Avenue building, participating in a sermon.

Police say there was no QR code at the entrance and some of the congregation came from other COVID-19 hot-spot local government areas, including Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool.

Thirty adults were fined $1000 each and the church was issued a $5000 penalty.

Meanwhile, hardware stores like Bunnings, office supply stores and other retail premises must close in hotspot LGAs except for click-and-collect purchases, and all exams and education activities will move online, except the HSC.

All of NSW is currently in lockdown and police have ramped up enforcement of restrictions as authorities battle to contain the spread of the Delta strain.

NSW reported 830 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday - another daily infection record - as well as three deaths.

As case numbers mount and the elimination of COVID-19 in NSW becomes unfeasible, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the health system retained plenty of capacity to handle sick patients.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered at the Queensland-NSW border on Sunday to protest changes to entry requirements between the states, including a man on a large white horse.

NSW Police said protesters had crossed the border between Queensland at Coolangatta and NSW at Tweed Heads, with eight people arrested and 54 fined for breaching public health orders.

Lockdown settings will remain in place in regional NSW until at least August 28 and in Greater Sydney until at least September 30.

SBS is providing live translations of daily New South Wales and Victoria COVID-19 press conferences in various languages. Click here for more information.

Published 23 August 2021 at 8:31am, updated 23 August 2021 at 10:38am
Source: AAP - SBS