14 December 2020
This resource explains the basis for, and extent of, the restrictions relating to COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) in South Australia as at 14 December 2020.
On 16 March 2020, the Chief Executive of the South Australian Department of Health and Wellbeing made a declared a Public Health Emergency as a result of COVID-19. On 22 March 2020, the State Coordinator declared a Major Emergency as a result of COVID-19. The Major Emergency has been extended multiple times, and the latest extension ends on 9 January 2021.
A Major Emergency declaration gives the State Co-ordinator (and Authorised Officers) broad powers under the Emergency Management Act 2004 (SA) (the Act) to manage and co-ordinate the response to, and recovery from, the outbreak of COVID-19 within South Australia.
The current State Co-ordinator is Grant Stevens, the Commissioner of Police.
During this Major Emergency, Authorised Officers have broad powers to do whatever is necessary to address the outbreak of COVID-19 within South Australia (Emergency Powers).
These Emergency Powers allow the State Co-ordinator and Authorised Officers to:
Only Authorised Officers appointed by the State Co-ordinator may exercise the Emergency Powers.
The State Co-ordinator’s appointment of an Authorised Officers is not published, but those appointed (who are not police officers) must hold an identity card with their name, photo and states they are an Authorised Officer.
The South Australian Police Commissioner in his role as State Co-ordinator appears to have appointed all South Australia Police officers as Authorised Officers, allowing them exercise the Emergency Powers.
But note, police officers in uniform do not have to show their credentials before exercising Emergency Powers. Police officers not in uniform must display their certificate of authority, if requested, before exercising Emergency Powers. Non-police Authorised Officers must display the identity card, if requested, before exercising Emergency Powers.
The Emergency Powers currently:
For further information about these directions, see the above-linked South Australian Government web pages.
If you are a community organisation, find out about how these restrictions impact your duties to employees and volunteers.
There are additional restrictions made through Federal Government powers. To understand those restrictions, see our Federal Government resource.
Refusing or failing to comply with a direction under the Emergency Powers, without a reasonable excuse, could cause a fine of up to $20,000 for individuals and $75,000 for businesses.
If you receive a fine, you should seek legal advice. You may have a defence if there was a reasonable reason for you being unable to follow the instruction.
If you or your family are directed to do something using the Emergency Powers, you can get legal advice through Justice Connect
If you have a legal problem related to COVID-19, apply for free legal help from Justice Connect.
This resource is accurate as at 14 December 2020. Review the South Australian Government’s COVID-19 website for the most up to date information.
This is a South Australian resource.
 Emergency Management Act 2004 (SA) section 23(2): Approval of extension of a major emergency declaration, 22 August 2020.
 Emergency Management Act 2004 (SA) (the Act) ss 23 and 25.
 As above s 25.
 As above s 25.
 As above s 17.
 The Act s 17(3)(a).
 The Act s 17(3)(b).
 The Act s 166(3) and (4).
 The Act s 25; Emergency Management (Public Activities No 16) (COVID-19) Direction 2020, 14 December 2020.
 As above.
 Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Isolation Following Diagnosis or Close Contact) Direction 2020, 8 September 2020; Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Peppers Waymouth Isolation) Direction 2020, 17 November 2020; Emergency Management (CODI-19) (Parafield Cluster Isolation No 4) Direction 2020, 28 November 2020.
 Emergency Management (Supervised Quarantine) (COVID-19) Direction 2020, 14 December 2020.
 Emergency Management (Prohibition of Point of Care Serology Tests) (COVID-19) Direction 2020, 24 June 2020; Emergency Management (Reporting on COVID-19 Testing No 2) Direction 2020, 9 September 2020.
 The Act s 28.