Two naked men who got lost in a national park south of Sydney are among 44 people who have been fined for breaching COVID public health orders.
The men were nude sunbaking at a beach on Sunday when they were startled by a deer and sought refuge in the nearby Royal National Park at Otford in the Illawarra.
In a cascading series of unfortunate events, they got lost in the bush and were forced to call authorities for help.
"Not only did they require assistance from SES and police to rescue them, they also both received a ticket for $1000," Commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters on Monday.
The men were fined for breaching public health orders which mandates those in Greater Sydney and surrounds must not leave their home except for an essential reason.
When Police Rescue, the State Emergency Service, NSW Ambulance and Polair all responded to the call for help, they found a 30-year-old naked man from Mascot in Sydney's south, carrying a backpack.
After a further search, a 49-year-old man from Camperdown, partially clothed, was also found.
"It's difficult to legislate against idiots. But clearly putting people at risk by leaving home without a proper reason, and I think then not only on top of that, but then getting lost in the national park and diverting important resources away from the health operation, I think they should be embarrassed," Mr Fuller said.
The NSW Police Commissioner also said people should not exercise far from home.
"The health orders have evolved over the course of the last 15 months. If we think there's some confusion ... we are still issuing cautions to people if we think it's a line-ball call, but clearly we don't want people outside unless it's necessary and if you need to exercise, exercise close to home."
Most people who were caught breaching health orders on the weekend were fined for failing to wear a mask, while others were caught out of their homes in Greater Sydney without a reasonable excuse.
"Now, it's only a small percentage of the NSW people that are not following the health guidelines, but I can assure you, if you breach the health orders or the guidelines, you will be punished."
One of those was a 33-year-old man from Ermington in Sydney's northwest, who was fined $1000 after he was stopped at Goulburn in the NSW Southern Tablelands without a reasonable excuse.
A cafe operator was also charged with breaching the public health order at Shellharbour, south of Wollongong.
Police say neither the 38-year-old woman or her staff were wearing face masks. Officers reminded the woman of her obligations under the current health orders but she refused to comply.
She was given bail conditions to strictly comply with the public health orders and not to incite or encourage others to defy them and will appear in court next month.
Police say they have received hundreds of calls from the public over the weekend reporting potential public health order breaches.
Australian Associated Press