Sydney churchgoers and pastor at illegal service fined again

Preacher or Pastor

New South Wales police on Wednesday said they issued further fines to people who attended a Sunday night church service in the heart of Sydney’s Covid-19 outbreak hotspots in violation of health orders.

Police issued 14,000 Australian dollars (10,100 dollars) in fines to the pastor and attendees of an evening sermon in Blacktown in Greater Western Sydney for failure to comply with a direction to wear or carry a mask.

The pastor was also served with a prohibition order preventing the church from operating for a seven-day period.

Earlier in the week, thirty churchgoers were fined 1,000 dollars each after attending the sermon on Sunday evening. The church was fined a further 5,000 dollars.

Police said that, after being tipped off about a possible congregation in breach of health orders, officers located a group of about 60 adults and children attending a sermon inside a building.

Those in attendance were from various other areas in Greater Sydney including Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool, all considered “areas of concern” and under tighter health restrictions than the rest of the state.

A night-time curfew came into effect in those areas on Monday as New South Wales recorded its third consecutive day of Covid-19 case numbers in excess of 800.

Greater Sydney has been in lockdown for over eight weeks and the measures will remain in place at least until the end of September, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced last week.

The public is under stay-at-home orders except for essential outings such as work, medical appointments, care and compassionate grounds, shopping for essential goods and outdoor exercise.

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