The Australian Defence Force will be deployed to the ACT border in coming days to help stem the flow of unauthorised travel from NSW.
It was revealed during Friday's COVID update the ACT had been working with the Commonwealth for several weeks to instate Defence personnel at Canberra entry points.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ADF would work alongside ACT Policing and State Emergency Services to prevent people coming to Canberra without an exemption. The escalated response followed investigations from health authorities of several different introduction points of the virus from NSW.
The Chief Minister has reported authorities growing increasingly frustrated with non-compliance over recent days, warning members of the public who breach public health orders risk being fined.
"There will be boots on the ground," Mr Barr said on Friday.
From next week, Defence will man the borders along the Federal Highway, Canberra Avenue, Lanyon Drive and the Monaro Highway, with checkpoint times and locations to vary over the next few weeks.
The border operation had already ramped up this week ahead of the school holidays, with ACT Policing turning away 15 vehicles on the Federal Highway before midday on Friday.
Police reported the majority had travelled from Sydney or Goulburn, on the same day NSW recorded 1284 new COVID cases, including three from Goulburn.
ACT Road Policing Detective Acting Superintendent Donna Hofmeier said the majority claimed to be travelling for work purposes, however, entry was not permitted without an exemption.
Acting Superintendent Hofmeier said border patrol was a huge operation. Manning all entry points for 24 hours would require more than 300 of police's 900 officers, she said.
More than 4300 vehicles were stopped on the first day of the operation on Thursday, with more than 20,000 vehicle compliance checks since lockdown began.
Fines have been issued for travellers from NSW who have been found to have deliberately attempted to break the rules.
Detective Acting Superintendent Hofmeier said ACT residents travelling in the other direction risked hefty fines from NSW police.
"Canberra residents can't host visitors from NSW and Canberrans can't go for a holiday in NSW," she said.
ACT Policing will continue to patrol parks and recreation facilities which are closed in the territory, after about 100 people were found to be in breach of public health orders at Cotter Road and Paddy's River Road last weekend.
Detective Acting Superintendent Hofmeier said people who thought they could sneak through the ACT back roads should be aware there will also be police out on bikes.
"If you decide you're going to go down to the Cotter Reserve or somewhere where there's big signs that say it's closed and there's a checkpoint set up, you might be receiving a $5000 fine," she said.
Health authorities once again warned against people leaving their home for non-essential reasons, ahead of a slight easing of restrictions this weekend.
Tennis, golf and rowing will be allowed from Saturday, as well as by-appointment property inspections and increased click-and-collect capacity.
With the ACT recording 30 cases of coronavirus on Friday, ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman acknowledged it was seemingly becoming increasingly difficult for people to stay inside.
"I think the longer that we are in lockdown, the harder it is for people both to quarantine and isolate, but also do the right thing with the public health directions," Dr Coleman said.
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