Many people have been asking how this lockdown will be enforced and what powers the Police have. Or, more importantly, what you can still do during the lockdown.
There is not a full travel restriction in place. You can still shop for essentials from the supermarket, dairy or pharmacy, you can drop off groceries to others, as a farmer you can move livestock, and you can still go for a walk.
If you are on the move, you must travel in full isolation either by yourself or with the people you are isolated with. If you are walking and come up to someone on the walking track or are dropping groceries to someone then keep well away from each other.
We know there will be changes over time as we adapt to our new reality, and for some situations right now, we simply do not know the answer.
Under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, the Prime Minister issued an epidemic notice. This is the first time the power has been used. It is essentially the notice informing everyone that the country is moving into the Level 4 lockdown.
This action gives the Police special powers during the lockdown. Empowering the Police to do anything reasonably necessary to assist regional medical officers of health in enforcing compliance with the Epidemic Notice.
Powers of the Police include doing anything to:
• Compel, enforce or ensure compliance with a requirement of a medical officer of health;
• Help medical officers of health perform functions or powers;
• Prevent people from obstructing medical officers of health; or
• Inspect or enter any land, building, aircraft, ship or vehicle to execute these functions.
Alongside the notice, a State of National Emergency was declared by the Minister of Civil Defence. This, through the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan, enables Police and the Defence Force to protect public safety and force compliance with the notice.
Including the power to:
• Requisition essential materials, equipment and resources;
• Prevent people from engaging in activity that may contribute to the emergency;
• Exclude people from places;
• Prohibit or regulate traffic on the streets.
These are uncertain times, but we need to remember these are powers put in place to protect the people we love and us.