DEPUTY Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce won't go back to Armidale, in his own electorate, as the nation's capital declares the regional town a COVID-19 affected area.
As of 11:59pm on Thursday, people in the Armidale area will need an exemption to enter the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
They will also need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, but anyone who left the Armidale local government area before midnight last night is not affected.
Mr Joyce said he'll comply with the orders just like everyone else.
"I've learned my lesson with the $200 fine for the mask, I don't need to be taught twice," he said.
"If you go into Armidale, you're staying there; going to Armidale is not the problem, it's coming back out."
The capital territory's harsher restrictions come as higher levels of the virus have been detected in sewage from the regional town in Mr Joyce's electorate.
Armidale is one of 14 additional local government areas in regional NSW declared a COVID-19 affected area as of 11:59pm on Thursday, alongside places like Newcastle and Dubbo.
Mr Joyce lives in Danglemah, a rural community halfway between Walcha and Tamworth.
He said he wasn't willing to pay to quarantine for two weeks if he visited Armidale and then had to return to Canberra.
"What's the point of going to Canberra to sit in a hotel room for two weeks? You can't go to work, it's better to just keep yourself safe and clear from lockdown areas," he said.
"You've just got to be careful. I understand and empathise with how frustrated people are getting, I get that.
"As much as possible I want the government to be explaining not instructing.
"By Christmas I believe there'll be vastly more vaccines than there will be people lining up to get vaccinated. Once we get to there, we're sort of getting to the other side of this hill."
No confirmed COVID-19 cases have been found in Armidale, as of the latest update on Friday.
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