The Mayor has warned he will not hesitate to close Burleigh Hill if there’s a repeat of huge crowds like we saw over the long weekend.
Hundreds of people gathered on the hill to watch the sunset, with Police forced to move crowds on on Sunday.
Numbers were down on Monday afternoon following warnings from Police, while extra barriers and signs were also installed.
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Mayor Tom Tate says he was surprised at the large number of people who had gathered and that the message didn’t get through to everyone.
“The majority of Gold Coasters has done wonderful and practicing social distancing with a minority, I think the younger age group has basically taken the social distancing lightly and has formed clusters of getting together,” Mayor Tate said.
“I thought it was a simple message to go ‘well it’s too busy here, let’s go down further (to) another beach and other parks’.
“We’ve got 45kms of beach and 2300 parks, you don’t have to be right there and try to be king of the hill together.
“I just continue to put the message out there and if the message is not heard, I’ll put the barrier right around the Burleigh Hills.”
The Mayor says he supported the decision to ease some restrictions over the weekend despite some people flouting the rules.
“You’ve got to look at the majority of people and balance it with the health of people and I think we’ve been cooped up for quite a long time.
“The majority of people was really respectful that were social distancing and I think it was the right move to do. In 14 days, time will tell.”
The Mayor has also welcomed talk that Australia and New Zealand could introduce a Trans-Tasman ‘travel bubble’ in coming months.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined Australia’s National Cabinet this morning to discuss the idea.
Councillor Tate says while that would be good for tourism, it would be even better news for the thousands of New Zealanders who call the Gold Coast home.
“Gold Coast has a lot of families of Kiwis here, we’re probably the highest density of New Zealanders living away from New Zealand and the sooner we can open the flight there, it’s about reuniting families together, that’s what I’m really cheering for.
“And tourism after that for me. Yes we want to get there but less priority for travel, I would put it more for families reuniting.
The Mayor has also backed the decision to keep the Queensland border shut for at least a few more weeks.
But he’s repeated calls to allow restaurants and cafes to be reopened soon and says National Cabinet should give the sector a date to resume trading.
“If people can do social distancing, I don’t see a problem with the restaurant industry being open while being mindful of social distancing so I would welcome that.
“And I would say the restaurant owners would welcome a gradual opening as well because they’re going to have to get stock.”