NSW Police Minister David Elliott says police checks will only happen as a “last resort” in instances where “belligerent” businesses deliberately flout the public health orders.

Lockdown-weary residents flock to pubs and clubs in their droves on Monday as the economy reopened as part of the state’s pathway out of the pandemic.

“What we’ve found in the last couple of months is the people being fined are the people who have been belligerent and deliberately just disobeying the law, thinking they were above the laws, thinking the law didn’t apply to them so that’s the appeal,” Mr Elliott told Sky News Australia.

“Whether or not you’re wanting to flout the rules or public health orders … that’s what the police are there for and they will attend.

“Police have had a very high profile over the course of the lockdown and that’s not something that sits comfortably with many Australians, certainly not with me.

“I’m quite happy they will be there as and when required, it’s not going to the police force’s job, nor should it be in a civilised society, to go and ask for papers just because you’re sitting at a restaurant or a bar.

“They will be there for people who want to completely flout the rules as a last resort.”

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