Dozens of revellers face hefty fines after police raided a music event attended by up to 200 people in south-east NSW, as a further 15 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the state.
NSW Police about 11pm on Friday attended an area of bushland near Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains, where they discovered a large bonfire and lighting, as well as an amplified music set up and DJ.
The majority of attendees fled into the bushland as authorities shut down the event, but NSW Police assistant commissioner Scott Whyte said a “significant number” of people were detained.
“Every single person that’s been identified will be fined,” assistant commissioner Whyte told reporters on Saturday.
The infringements come amid the 15 new cases of coronavirus from 30,535 tests in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.
NSW Health on Saturday identified four additional cases associated with a series of funeral gatherings and a church service attended by a woman in her 40s from the Fairfield area, reported earlier in the week.
The additional cases involve a couple in their 60s from the north coast and another middle-aged couple from southwest Sydney.
It urged anyone who attended the funeral and church services to immediately self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.
Eight of the new cases have been linked to the Thai Rock restaurant cluster, while six are returned travellers in hotel quarantine, NSW Health said.
The total number of confirmed cases in NSW now sits at 3465, with 60 cases linked to the Thai restaurant in Wetherill Park.
There have been 51 virus deaths in NSW.
New COVID-19 measures have come into effect for hospitality venues in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus in NSW.
The changes include mandatory sign-ins, prepared COVID-safe plans, a cap of 300 people and maximum group bookings of 10.
Caps on private indoor and outdoor gatherings remain at 20, but weddings and corporate events are now capped at 150, and funerals and religious gatherings at 100.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said patrons were the “first line of defence” and that hospitality venues that flout the rules faced immediate $5000 fines, as well as temporary closures and up to six months in prison for further offences.
“There are no three strikes when it comes to a pandemic,” Mr Elliott told reporters on Saturday.
“I don’t want to see business-owners having to go into incarceration for six months for doing the wrong thing.”
North of the border in Queensland, pub patrons are taking the state’s social-distancing restrictions sitting down – literally, after the state’s top health officer reimposed a ban on pub-goers standing at bars or high tables.
Steven Miles, who is also health minister, said the social distancing rule that patrons must be seated when eating and drinking will help venues remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We do not want to get to the point where we have to close down businesses again,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“While I understand these new restrictions make doing business and having a drink a little bit harder, it is not too much to sacrifice to keep the doors open and keep all those workers employed.”
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young reinstated the health restriction late on Friday, causing vocal frustration among some venue operators, many of whom have only recently fully reopened due to COVID-19 rules.
The ruling means patrons must be seated when eating and drinking but can still order from the bar. The number of people allowed in venues will remain the same.
Queensland recorded no new cases of coronavirus overnight.
However, Mr Miles said his team remained on high alert as COVID-19 continues to spread among the community in southern states.
“For as long as there are this level of new active cases and particularly unsourced community transmission