Sunshine Coast residents and visitors must continue to comply with the social distancing requirements and other national public health directions, notwithstanding some stay-at-home restrictions being eased ahead of the upcoming Labour Day long weekend (May 2-4).
In response to the easing of restrictions and based on advice from the Queensland Police Service and the Chief Health Officer’s most recent public health directive, Council will begin reopening boat ramps and pontoons, public car parks at beaches and picnic shelters from Thursday, 30 April 2020.
Council-managed walking trails did not close and remain available to use.
Playgrounds, barbecues, skate parks, exercise equipment and Gardners Falls and Buderim Falls swimming holes will remain closed however, as it is difficult to maintain compliance with social distancing rules and satisfactory hygiene measures at these facilities.
Surf Life Saving Queensland will also continue to operate a surveillance model with flags remaining down on beaches.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mark Jamieson reminded the community that all other rules relating to social distancing and limits on visitors remained in place during this time.
“Now is not the time to undo all the great work that we have done in partnership with our community,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“It’s good news that we’re able to reopen some Sunshine Coast facilities as I know our residents want to be using our parks, waterways and other open spaces during this time.
“But we must heed the important directives for the safety of our community,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“To be frank, I am concerned the Queensland Government’s decision to relax some restrictions prior to the long weekend may contribute to an increased risk of transmission in our community.
“However, that decision does create expectations about access to public areas and Council and the Local Disaster Management Group have taken that into account.
“The actions we have taken to reopen beach carparks, boat ramps and pontoons recognises that by and large, our community has done a great job in acting in a responsible manner during the pandemic.
“But if there is evidence of large scale non-compliance emerging over the weekend or beyond, Council will move quickly to reinstate the closure of these facilities.
“The Queensland Police Service will continue to be monitoring closely how people are complying with the national public health directions and those who are not doing the right thing run the very real risk of a $1334 fine.
“People going out for picnics can bring along their own food or help the local economy by buying take-away from a local business, as facilities like barbecues will remain closed.”
Mayor Jamieson also reminded Sunshine Coast residents not to encourage friends and relatives to travel from Brisbane and elsewhere to the Sunshine Coast this weekend.
The State Government has applied three conditions to the eased restrictions:
- social distancing and hygiene must be maintained
- you have to stay within 50km of home and
- outings are limited to members of the same household or an individual and one friend.