Covid 19 coronavirus Australia: NSW Health limits alcohol for residents of locked-down tower block

Residents in apartment blocks locked-down by NSW Health are having their alcohol deliveries policed as part of a policy to limit the number of drinks being consumed each day.

NSW Health has imposed rules limiting people in “NSW Health controlled buildings” to a certain amount of alcohol each day in a bid to “ensure the safety of health staff and residents”.

Mission Australia’s Common Ground building in Camperdown is the latest building where occupants are subjected to the harsh rules.

Residents of the social housing estate have complained that care packages sent by friends and relatives have been searched before they are delivered.

“They are searching all bags and things coming into the building … They confiscated a series of gifts. So things like bottles of spirits, we weren’t allowed to have those and we still [aren’t],” Common Ground resident Robin Elhaj said.

Residents are allowed to receive a ration of one of the following: six beers or pre-mixed drinks, one bottle of wine, or one 375ml bottle of spirits.

Excess alcohol is being confiscated until lockdown rules are lifted.

Residents can consult with a clinician if they think they need more than the allowed limit.

A Sydney Local Health District spokeswoman confirmed the limits are in place in NSW Health’s Special Health Accommodation, where Covid-positive patients and close contacts are sent for isolation.

However it is unclear what powers NSW Health has to limit the delivery of alcohol to people isolating in their own homes; public health orders do not mention alcohol limits.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said police officers are not confiscating alcohol delivered to residential buildings, and do not have powers to do so.

“In all residential lockdown locations, NSW Police are there to ensure compliance with the Public Health Orders and assist NSW Health if required,” the police spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for the Sydney Local Health District said when NSW Health took control of apartment buildings for the purposes of limiting the spread of coronavirus, the buildings became subject to alcohol consumption restrictions.

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