A travel company has been issued a $5000 PIN for breaching a public health order after taking three busloads of tourists to Dubbo's Taronga Western Plains Zoo, police say.
About 9.30am on Monday, three buses arrived at the zoo on Obley Road at Dubbo.
On board were 128 staff and guests - at least 76 of whom were not permitted to travel outside Greater Sydney under the current public health order, police said.
Staff at the zoo refused to allow the travellers off the buses and police were called.
Officers from Orana Mid-Western Police District attended and spoke to tour operators, establishing the group had left Sydney on Friday June 25 and had continued to travel throughout regional NSW after the Public Health Orders were updated on Saturday.
The guests were directed to return home immediately and the tour company has been issued a $5000 PIN.
the staff at the zoo did exactly the right thing - they isolated the risk and alerted police.Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys
State Emergency Operations Controller, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys, said the company owner told police he was aware of the public health orders but decided to continue the tour as planned anyway.
"But the staff at the zoo did exactly the right thing - they isolated the risk and alerted police. They did a great job to protect the local community," Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.
Investigations into further possible breaches are continuing.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said now was a crucial time for our state and it was disappointing to see people continuing to breach the health orders.
"I would appeal to everyone to not only follow the rules but use your common sense and do your bit to help NSW beat this virus," Minister Elliott said.
Dubbo's Taronga Western Plains Zoo confirmed it called police on Monday when a concern arose at the arrival of a group of guests on a coach.
The zoo reports that during COVID check-in at the coach bay, the group disclosed they had visited the Greater Sydney area on or after June 21.
In discussions prior to their arrival, Taronga had received assurances from the group that it was compliant with NSW Public Health Orders, however at the point of check-in it was revealed that the group had in fact visited the Greater Sydney area, a Taronga Western Plains Zoo spokesperson said.
The group was not permitted to enter the zoo and NSW Police were called to manage the situation from that point onwards, the zoo said.
In total, 34 PINs were issued yesterday and of those 16 were $200 infringements for failing to wear a fitted face covering.
Police continue to appeal to the community to report suspected breaches of any ministerial direction or behaviour which may impact on the health and safety of the community.
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