QUEENSLAND Police are urging motorists to get familiar with the ‘border bubble’ restrictions ahead of the September school holidays, revealing there are still hundreds of people getting it wrong every single day.
Gold Coast District Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said officers were continuing to see people turn up at the border with invalid border passes or no pass at all.
“We’re turning away in the order of 100 people a day which is a fairly high number,” Chief Supt. Wheeler said.
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“The numbers are coming down a little bit but it’s still a lot of people who turn up to our border and they don’t fit the requirements to come in.”
39,000 vehicles have been intercepted at Gold Coast checkpoints since the border closures were introduced on August 8 and 3,600 of those have been turned away. A further 750 have been directed into self-funded quarantine.
Queensland Police are concerned a large number of people will get caught out by the border restrictions during the upcoming September school holidays, beginning after the final day of Term 3 on September 18.
“There will be people who simply won’t read the rules and will go into NSW thinking the border zone area is okay to go in,” the Chief Supt. said.
“People have got to remember the entirety of NSW is a declared COVID-19 hotspot and the border zone areas are simply exemptions to allow people to go about their daily lives.”
Mr Wheeler admitted it was people living outside the bubble, mostly in Brisbane, who had often being caught out at the Gold Coast checkpoints.
“The Brisbane area has been our most prevalent area where people have done things like go over into the Tweed to do some recreational fishing. We had another person go over to purchase some fishing equipment,” he said.
“Those people simply haven’t checked the rules before they left.
“Those experiences for them are incredibly expensive.”
He also admitted the ordeal had been causing issues for the officers themselves.
“They put our police in a really, really difficult situation,” Mr Wheeler said.
“Our police understand the ramifications at those checkpoints but they have to follow the letter of the law and they have to ensure that the Chief Health Officer’s directions are being complied with and enforced.
“There will be people who simply won’t read the rules and will go into NSW thinking the border zone area is okay to go in. People have got to remember the entirety of NSW is a declared hotspot and the border zone areas are simply exemptions to allow people to go about their daily lives.”
There are also concerns a large number of people will try to cross the border for the World Surf League’s Tweed Coast Pro, taking place at Cabarita on Sunday and Monday.
“My concern is that we see people from Queensland, particularly outside our border zone area, decide to go down there and watch the event and not get back into Queensland,” Wheeler said.
The event is broadcast-only and will only be attended by a small number of officials and competitors, including Australian stars Owen Wright, Tyler Wright, Julian Wilson, Steph Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons.
The current Queensland Border Declaration Passes consist of the following categories:
X PASS: Border zone resident, issued to persons living in a border zone who are not required to quarantine.
S PASS: Specialist, issued to exempt persons who have been to a COVID-19 declared hotspot and are not required to quarantine.
F PASS: Freight, issued to freight, logistics and transport workers who are not required to quarantine.
Q PASS: Quarantine Direction, issued to a person who is allowed to enter Queensland but must quarantine.