Leading into Australia Day celebrations on Tuesday, NSW Police sent a reminder to the community to take note of and abide by restrictions to stay COVID-safe.
With large gatherings limited across the state, people are being encouraged to watch live broadcasts on TV from their home, have small gatherings with family and friends or support local businesses in a COVID-safe fashion.
For those who choose to reflect and celebrate outdoors, a highly-visible and mobile operation will be in place on January 26 with general duties officers and specialist police being deployed across the state to ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone.
Operation Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Willing APM, said with a smaller number of events and careful crowd management plans, it's more important than ever to be patient and plan ahead.
Police aren't here to disrupt any plans, but we do have the power to ensure that the community is adhering to the current public health orders.Operation Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Willing APM
"Australia Day 2021 is a day to reflect, respect and celebrate the Australian spirit, so we ask the community to be patient and respect each other and any restrictions in place," he said.
"People may be marking the day differently, but as with any major event, police will still be out and about across the state focusing on public safety, alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.
"Police aren't here to disrupt any plans, but we do have the power to ensure that the community is adhering to the current public health orders, including restrictions on gathering and movement and the wearing of mandatory face coverings in certain settings."
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Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott MP, said all agencies are working together to make sure this year's Australia Day is safe and fun for everyone across NSW.
"The past 12 months have been a trying time and we know that many have done it tough, first with bushfires and then living through this global pandemic," Minister Elliott said.
"Australia Day is a time to celebrate and reflect upon the Australian spirit, and our resilience and mateship shown during times of hardship.
"Let's remember that, particularly this year, and ensure we all have an enjoyable weekend celebrating everything that is great about being Australian."
The operation extends to the state's waterways too and a heavy police presence should be expected.
"We expect significant maritime traffic ... so we remind skippers of their responsibilities in complying with the maritime laws and to have all the required safety equipment - most importantly, lifejackets - on board the vessel," Marine Area Commander, Acting Superintendent Joe McNulty said.
"We will also be conducting drug and alcohol testing on the water, so remember, the same rule applies to as if you were driving a vehicle, it is a 0.05 alcohol limit.
"Drinking alcohol or taking drugs while out on the water can end in tragedy, so look after your friends and family and act responsibly."
Check the NSW Health website for the Public Health restrictions that apply to your area, or the area you plan on visiting.
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