A travel company has been fined for bringing three busloads of tourists to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.
On Monday morning, busses carrying 128 staff and guests arrived at the zoo, 76 of whom were not permitted to travel outside greater Sydney under the current public health order.
Staff at the zoo refused to let the travellers off the buses and called the police.
After speaking to the tour operators, police established the group left Sydney on Friday and travelled throughout regional NSW, after stay-at-home orders were announced on Saturday for anyone who visited or lives in the greater Sydney area.
According to police, officers ordered the tourists to return home immediately and issued the tour company with a $5,000 fine.
State Emergency Operations controller, deputy commissioner Gary Worboys, said the company owner told police he was aware of the public health orders but decided to continue the tour as planned anyway.
“The staff at the zoo did exactly the right thing – they isolated the risk and alerted police. They did a great job to protect the local community,” Worboys said.
Investigations into further possible breaches are continuing.
While Taronga Sydney Zoo has temporarily closed, Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo is still operating.
However, a post on its Facebook page advises that visitors who live, work or have visited Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains or Wollongong on or after 21 June 2021 will not be allowed entry to the zoo.
Police did not reveal the name of the tour company that received the fine.
Travel Weekly has contacted Taronga Western Plains Zoo for further details.
Featured image source: Facebook/TarongaWesternPlainsZoo