In March 2020 a Public Health Emergency was declared in the State of Tasmania by the Minister of Health. People must stay at home unless there is a valid reason for being away from home.
Can I leave my home? What is the definition of essential travel?
Residents must remain at their primary residence unless there is a valid reason.
Someone can leave their home for the following reasons:
- shopping for supplies or services that are lawfully operating while this direction is in force; or
- undertaking personal exercise; or
- attending medical or health care appointments or for medical treatment; or
- seeking veterinary services for an animal; or
- providing social support, or care, to another person (including to attend to another person's compassionate needs, to facilitate shared custody, guardianship or care arrangements for another person), as long as the person is following the rest of the directions to stay at home; or
- attending school or study, if unable to be performed at the person's primary residence; or
- attending work, or volunteering, if unable to be performed at the person's primary residence; or
- performing essential maintenance, or security inspections, of another premises owned, or occupied.
Can I walk my dog at another municipality, like Seven Mile beach when I live at North Hobart?
Driving to a location for the purpose of walking a pet is not necessary. There has to be a valid reason why someone couldn’t walk their dog close to home.
Can I visit my parents who are unwell and live 15 minutes away?
Yes, as this fits within the description of Reason 5, above.
I operate a business; can I go about my normal business activity?
If someone is operating a business and that person or their employees leave their home, it must be for a genuine reason which directly connects to the furtherance of a business activity. The workplace or business has the onus of proving that an employee is absent from their home for a genuine reason.
Can I drive as a learner driver?
Only whilst doing essential travel as above and within your municipality. No-one will be able to leave the vehicle unless it fits a category above.
I disagree with what the Police say is “essential travel”, what can I do?
Police are able to issue someone summons if the Police have a reasonable opinion that the travel was non-essential. It will later be for the Court to decide whether the travel was or was not essential and someone with a summons will be able to explain their reasons if they wish to disagree with the Police.
If the Police question you about your travel you must be able to explain that you are taking the most direct route and are not stopping to see friends or family. Unless the travel is essential and needs to be undertaken now, it must be avoided.
How can the government give such harsh penalties?
The Government has wide ranging powers available to them under certain circumstances. The nature of the COVID-19 means that the Government has had to introduce strict controls for the purpose of protecting the community’s health.
I have heard that in other States there are on the spot fines but I have been given a summons, is this right?
While all States and Territories are working together to protect the community from COVID-19, all decisions related to health are made by the individual State or Territory. In Tasmania any non-essential travel will be dealt by summons. This means the Police will require you to go to Court at a later date to have your matter dealt with. If a Court finds someone engaged in non-essential travel the maximum penalty is $16,800 and/or six months in prison.
Can I go to my shack or go camping?
The Police will be checking holiday accommodation. If someone claims that they are staying at their shack to undertake maintenance may have to show what maintenance is being done and explain why it is needed to be done at this time. The Government is most insistent about this and the line is: "If you don't have a reasonable excuse then you will be asked to leave or you will be summonsed and charged.”