Group of Australians Playing Cricket Fined AU$8,000 for Violating Stay-at-Home Order

In a recent video posted on Facebook, two police officers are seen talking to a group of five friends playing some “backyard cricket” in Victoria, Australia. In the video, a police officer appears to write a ticket for one of the men.

The five friends were apparently reported for playing their game of cricket on public property near suburban homes, in breach of the strict social distancing regulations in Victoria.

Victorians can expect a fine of up to AU$1,652 ($1,058) for non-essential travel—the highest fine for committing the offense in any of the eight Australian states and territories.

“Each one of these guys fined $1,652 each for not abiding by the new lockdown laws,” the description of the video reads.

Victoria Police told Australian news outlet The Daily Mercury they would not comment on individual fines.

COVID-19 test
Medical professionals administer COVID-19 tests at the Bondi Beach drive-through COVID-19 testing center in Sydney, Australia, on April 6, 2020. (Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Victoria is currently under stage-three lockdown restrictions, meaning people cannot gather in groups of more than two except for members of the same household or when going to work.

After the new lockdown restrictions were implemented, Victorian authorities issued about three times more fines than any other state in Australia.

Since March 16, Victorian authorities have conducted more than 15,000 spot checks, local news outlets reported.

However, there still seems to be confusion among residents as to what they can and cannot do.

Last week, Victorian police announced that they would cancel a $1,652 fine for “non-essential travel” they gave to a 17-year-old who was learning how to drive his car in “wet conditions.”

The Daily Mercury obtained the ticket and shared the picture on Twitter with the caption: “For those asking—yes—we’ve seen a copy of the actual infringement notice handed yesterday to a 17-year-old L-plater having a training drive with mum in the rain yesterday.”

In several other incidents, a group of Victorians who were gathering at a house to have dinner together, as well as three friends who did not live together, but who decided to meet up at the same house to play video games, also received tickets, 7News reported.

Australia has reported 6,366 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 61 deaths at a rate that has continued to slow, although officials cautioned that recent numbers may have been thinned out by lower testing over the four-day Easter holiday weekend.

Californians Fined for Violating Stay-at-Home Order

For seven visitors to Santa Cruz, California, the bill came to $7,000 in fines for violating local shelter-in-place, or SIP, guidelines.

They “came from Fremont to get some ‘essential’ drinks,” Police Chief Andrew Mills tweeted. “If you are not from Santa Cruz and you put our community at risk, you will get a ticket. #shelterinyourowntown.”

The department tweeted, “7 x $1,000 = One Expensive Hang Out. Everyone should know by now that this is not the time to meetup and party.”

The drive from Fremont to Santa Cruz is nearly 50 miles.

Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department’s website says: “‘Sheltering in place’ means people must stay home as much as possible and leave only for ‘essential activities.’ People cannot ‘host or attend any gatherings of any size.'”

Epoch Times reporter Alex Joseph, CNN Wire, and Reuters contributed to this report.