Warning to rule breakers: police targeting hot spots for congregating

Sunshine Coast Council and the Queensland Police Service are calling on the community to continue with social distancing measures and follow public health directions to help combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mark Jamieson said any people flouting the rules were risking lives.

“Whilst the majority of Sunshine Coast residents have been going above and beyond to comply with the national public health directions and social distancing requirements, unfortunately some people aren’t heeding the message,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“We are continuing to see large groups of people congregating at Happy Valley Park at Caloundra, Cotton Tree Park, La Balsa Park at Buddina, the Warana Beach picnic area and Tickle Park at Coolum and if this continues we will have no choice but to introduce further local restrictions to public spaces.

“Those people who are not complying with rules should expect to see regular police patrols in these areas.

“To those people continuing to do the wrong thing, please put the well-being of our whole community first – we all need to take social distancing seriously and stay 1.5 metres apart.

“Queensland’s Chief Health Officer (CHO) has been very clear – there is absolutely no reason any Sunshine Coast resident should leave their home other than for essential shopping, medical care, exercise, work or education.

“You should only be visiting recreational spaces for exercise and only places in your own neighbourhood.”

Queensland Police Service, Sunshine Coast District Officer, Acting Superintendent Jason Overland said the message was simple – stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to go outside.

“Whilst most people on the Sunshine Coast are doing the right thing, it’s disappointing to know some just aren’t getting the message,” Act Supt Overland said.

“Police can and will issues fines of $1,334 to individuals for failing to comply with a COVID-19 direction issued by the CHO.

“Blatant disregard for the CHO directives will not be tolerated, and police will continue to ensure compliance – particularly around self-isolation, mass gatherings, borders, non-essential business activity and private residence gatherings.

“It’s important we don’t stop with these measures until the CHO says we can. The direction is clear: stay home unless you have an essential reason to leave.”

Residents are reminded to never take matters into their own hands if they see people doing the wrong thing.

Queensland Police have a Sunshine Coast Tactical Crime Squad comprised of police who are tasked with the social distancing rules and other law enforcement measures related to COVID-19 on the Sunshine Coast.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, via www.crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

All council closure information can be found by visiting council’s website: www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.

Council is committed to supporting Queensland Health as the lead agency responsible for responding to COVID-19 and will ensure our community is kept informed.

Anyone with concerns can call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or find up-to-date reliable information on the Queensland Health website at www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.

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