Locals slapped with fines

AT LEAST 11 people have been fined in the Swan Hill region for failing to comply with COVID-19 directives from chief health officers.

Under Operation Sentinel, Victoria Police can issue on-the-spot fines of up to $1652 for individuals and up to $9913 for businesses.

People are being urged to stay at home, only leaving for four reasons: food and supplies, medical care and care giving, exercise, and work or education.

Swan Hill police Senior Sergeant Brad Bennett told The Guardian as part of the operation, police were conducting extra patrols.

"We have patrols every shift and their purpose is just that; to check on those that are to be isolating and any other breaches of COVID-19 of the health regulations," he told The Guardian.

Snr-Sgt Bennett said the majority of the community were complying with the rules.

"We still get small groups that go outside the guidelines which is disappointing, but on a whole, I'm very satisfied with the community," he said.

"It's tough for everyone, it's hard and difficult times for everybody.

"We're all in a new world we didn't think we'd be in."

He said a majority of people had been "quite reasonable" in their response to the on-the-spot checks.

"There's quite a number of people that have had multiple breaches and they've now been fined," he said.

Snr-Sgt Bennett has issued six fines for breaches, with the latest slapped at a private party in Swan Hill on Saturday.

"There was approximately six people," Snr-Sgt Bennett said.

"We've fined one person and the other persons were given warnings."

Snr-Sgt Brian Hansen has fined a further five people for breaches with the majority fined for non-essential travelling.

"The majority of those issued have been during the night hours," he said.

Snr-Sgt Hansen acknowledged people were experiencing lockdown fatigue and wanted to "get out and about".

"A lot of the news coming out from the authorities, from the politicians and chief health officer (Dr Brett Sutton) is quite positive in how the community is dealing with it," he said.

"So we just have to maintain that status quo for the time being.

"Hopefully soon we can have a relaxation of some of the restrictions."

Since March 21, Victoria Police have conducted more than 32,200 spot checks.