Coronavirus crisis: Men cop $1000 fines for not wearing masks on regional flights to Perth

Brianna DuganThe West Australian
AFP have fined two men $1000 each after they failed to wear masks on regional flights to Perth.
Camera IconAFP have fined two men $1000 each after they failed to wear masks on regional flights to Perth. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Two men have each been issued $1000 fines after failing to wear masks on regional flights.

A 47-year-old man from Aubin Grove allegedly failed to wear a mask during a flight from Leonora on September 8, while a 29-year-old man did not cover up on flying from Port Hedland to Perth last month.

The men allegedly refused requests from flight attendants to wear their masks.

Once their flights landed in Perth, they were met by Australian Federal Police officers.

They were fined $1000 each for breaching WA Health requirements.

AFP could not confirm whether the two men were fly-in, fly-out workers.

AFP Aviation Det. Supt Peter Chwal said the AFP and WA Police policy for such incidents was compliance through education.

Police on the beat at an airport.
Camera IconPolice on the beat at an airport. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

“Officers will first ask a person if they have an exemption to not comply with the Emergency Management Act 2005 and if they don’t, we will explain the lawful requirements and supply a mask for their use,” he said.

“If they then refuse directions to wear a mask, the natural consequence of that refusal is to take steps to issue an infringement.”

Det. Supt Chwal said it was a timely reminder for the public that health directives apply to flights, airports and the surrounding area.

“Most members of the community are doing the right thing and complying with the regulations, which are aimed at keeping us all safe,” he said.

“We do not want complacency to creep in because of the lack of COVID cases in WA.”

WA Police Supt Cam Western said officers working at airports would offer face masks to people and check the validity of claimed exemptions.

“It is our duty to enforce the directions and we try to work with people,” he said.

“Unfortunately, when people do not have a valid exemption and will not comply with lawful requirements we are forced to take action, which can lead to infringement, summons or arrest dependent on the circumstances.”

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