Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has dismissed threats by Queensland’s State Disaster Co-ordinator to shut down beaches on the Gold Coast if people flout lockdown rules.
Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said on Thursday morning he was “disappointed” to see many people relaxing and sunbaking on the beach in breach of current restrictions.
“It is really quite clear the purposes why people can leave their residences, going to lie on the beach and getting a suntan is not one of them,” Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said.
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“If people want to go to the beaches to exercise, that’s fine, provided they are within their local area, and if they are out there, they are still required to wear a mask unless they are actually in the process of exercising, so that was quite disappointing.”
Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said police are continuing to give people the benefit of the doubt, but warned beaches may soon be off-limits all together if people don’t follow the rules.
“Our police engage people… given the opportunity to comply and they did. Nonetheless if we can’t get compliance on our beaches today, we will have to start working with councils and start putting barricades and things up,” he said.
But Mayor Tom Tate has assured Gold Coaters that our beaches will remain open.
“I need to make that clear: beaches will not be closing,” The Mayor said.
“I respect the police in their efforts to ensure compliance with mask rules and I note the comments this morning at the Premier’s live update.
“Community transmission numbers appear to be extremely low and the Premier will make a decision regarding our three-day lockdown tomorrow morning.
“Beaches are open now for exercise purposes – not sun baking or socialising. Abide by the rules and we will come out of this lockdown.”
Police said overall the compliance from residents across the state has been “very good”, with just one fine given out in the past 24 hours to a 49-year-old woman at Morayfield who refused to wear a mask.
“We’ve handed out 225 masks to members of our community who were not wearing masks,” Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said.
“We’ve done 158 business inspections and responded to 78 calls to services that have been specifically COVID-related.
“Out of that, we have only seen one more fine given out which was for a 49-year-old female at Morayfield who again, when confronted by police and requested to wear a mask, just simply refused to do so, so they had no alternative but to take action.”
At the border, 1200 vehicles have been intercepted, with just two of those forced to turn around.
“So very low numbers which we’re pleased with,” Gollschewski said.
At our airports, only eight travellers had to be turned around.
“We are seeing an increase in domestic quarantine requirements with the hotspots in Northern Territory and Western Australia, and we had 51 persons coming out the of Northern Territory and 43 out of Western Australia that had to go into hotel quarantine,” Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said.
“And yesterday we saw within the cap 189 persons arrive from overseas that had to go into hotel quarantine, and we are seeing some significant numbers outside the cap with specific areas such as the ADF and people coming in, so all of that puts pressure on our system, so he we are working very hard to make sure we stay on top of that.”
Queensland recorded two new local COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours.