You might feel NSW’s coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown rules are restrictive, unfair, and, at times, unclear, but it’s hard to argue that authorities haven’t presented the general notion that you should stay home.
Anyway, the Daily Telegraph reports that NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin was yesterday spotted at his Central Coast holiday home, despite calling Sydney’s eastern suburbs his primary place of residence.
The paper reports that Harwin was spied at his Pearl Beach property, even though state authorities have urged NSW residents to avoid regional areas for fears of spreading COVID-19.
Harwin denied flouting current guidelines, telling the paper “I have two residences. I have chosen to live at this one for health reasons.”
He said that in three weeks, he had travelled into Sydney once, for a medical appointment, adding that the property provided extra space for his work-from-home arrangements.
The state’s public health order effectively makes it unlawful to leave the house without a reasonable excuse, but there’s leeway to move “between different places of residence of the person.”
A NSW Government spokesperson told the Tele that Harwin hadn’t breached any laws or public health orders. But his reported decision to hike to the coast appears to have rankled Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who said he was “bloody disappointed” by the “bad example.”
“Stay home. Don’t travel. Don’t go away. We can’t let up now,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said earlier on Wednesday.
And on Tuesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters, “None of us can travel, none of us can go on holidays… We cannot have communities who currently don’t have the virus to get contaminated unintentionally because people are moving around when they shouldn’t.”
(As an aside, members of our own staff had a good, hard think about the current situation, and decided against traditional Easter getaways, all because of the bastard virus.)
Now, this publication makes no suggestion Harwin has contributed, in any way, to the spread of COVID-19 across the state, or that he violated the public health order. And yes, the idea of throwing deuces to the city and working from the coast does seem pretty chill.
But, for the time being, the overarching message is still stay in one spot, please.