If people didn't think the coronavirus crisis was a serious matter before, then the punitive fines being rolled out across the country in the wake of the latest restrictions on movement should be the wake-up call they have been waiting for.
Under moves announced by the ACT chief minister, Andrew Barr, on Tuesday, Canberrans who flout the ban on group gatherings could be fined up to $8000 each.
This is timely given anecdotal reports of school-age students gathering at some shopping centres and the reluctance, up until now, of a small number of residents to comply with the spirit, as well as the letter, of the restrictions.
Canberrans who flout the ban on group gatherings could be fined up to $8000 each.
That said, the ACT government is right to be taking a more nuanced approach than has been seen elsewhere.
Mr Barr has stressed that in its initial phase the new regimen will be focused on education and raising community awareness.
"In the first instance the ACT government will educate and warn people," he said. "We won't be moving to immediately issuing on-the-spot fines but, if there is flagrant abuse, people should expect to be fined and we may also seek to prosecute".
This is in contrast to the measures announced earlier in the day by the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and her police commissioner, Mick Fuller.
Commissioner Fuller said NSW police would no longer be issuing "cautions" to anybody found on the streets without good reason, or who was flouting self-isolation requirements.
They would cop an immediate $1000 on-the-spot fine and could face even heavier fines of up to $11,000 and six months in jail.
Victoria is heading in the same direction and other jurisdictions are following suit.
Canberra's decision to opt for a less heavy-handed approach to enforcement, which can be escalated if the need arises, seems the right approach.
It represents a genuine desire to bring the community along; not to just bludgeon potential recalcitrants into submission by threatening them with the full force of the law from day one.
There are many reasons to adhere to the guidelines governing movement and, in the final analysis, the fear of being fined should be the least of them.
These regulations are literally a matter of life and death. People who choose to congregate in public spaces for no good reason are knowingly putting their own lives, the lives of their loved ones, and of countless other members of their community, at needless risk.
Under the "stage three" restrictions now in force the only acceptable reasons for leaving the house are to go out for exercise, either on your own or with one other person; to seek medical treatment; to go to work if you can't work from home; or to buy essential household provisions.
ACT residents need to be mindful of the fact that with 80 reported cases in the Territory as of late on Monday Canberra is second only to NSW in terms of number of cases per 100,000 people.
NSW has just over 25 cases per 100,000 residents compared to the capital's 18.22 cases. The Northern Territory is the leader of the pack with just 5.7 cases per 100,000 people and strict border restrictions in place to keep it that way.
While most, if not all, of the ACT cases involve overseas travellers or people they have been in direct contact with, Canberra residents need to stay on top of their game if the city is to stay ahead of the curve.
At times like these complacency can be the deadliest mistake anybody can make.