Barricades erected as border rules get tougher

 

QUEENSLAND is taking a much firmer stance on border crossings and beach trips as coronavirus cases rise on the Gold Coast.

But the Palaszczuk Government has relaxed restrictions on home visits.

Residents can now invite two people into their home, as long as they are not strangers.

The ever-changing rules around social distancing and movements continue to be revised on the advice of Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young. Even police appear to be battling to stay abreast of changes.

Gold Coast Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler speaking at Surfers Paradise on Thursday. Picture: Jerad Williams
Gold Coast Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler speaking at Surfers Paradise on Thursday. Picture: Jerad Williams

Gold Coast police chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said yesterday restrictions at the NSW border would be ramped up and tourists turned away. Checkpoints would be in place on the Gold Coast Highway, the M1 and the intersection of Griffith and Stewart streets at Coolangatta.

Blockades filled with water would be installed at about 14 quieter border crossings. The "hard closures" would be in place for an indefinite time as authorities grapple with the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourists will no longer get to self-isolate in Queensland for 14 days, Supt Wheeler said. Instead they would be turned away without a permit.

Queensland motorists with a permit or border pass will be allowed through checkpoints, as well as those returning home, but NSW residents will only be able to cross the border for work, medical or other "essential" reasons.

Supt Wheeler said: "If you don't have a border pass or an essential reason to come to Queensland you will be refused entry at our border. There's no doubt there's going to be some pain in this. This is going to cause traffic issues across the border and probably in some ways around Coolangatta itself."

Gold Coast police officers speaking to beachgoers sunbathing at Surfers Paradise. Beach goers are only allowed to exercise in the COVID-19 crisis. Picture: Jerad Williams
Gold Coast police officers speaking to beachgoers sunbathing at Surfers Paradise. Beach goers are only allowed to exercise in the COVID-19 crisis. Picture: Jerad Williams

Border restrictions came into play last week, but were not as strict as first flagged.

Anyone flying into Queensland from interstate without a permit, or who is not a resident, will be turned back at their own cost.

Supt Wheeler warned groups soaking up the sun on Gold Coast beaches, saying exercise was allowed but sunbaking was off limits for now.

Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler and officers on patrol in Surfers Paradise. Picture: Jerad Williams
Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler and officers on patrol in Surfers Paradise. Picture: Jerad Williams

Supt Wheeler said beachgoers lazing about would be spoken to and could be fined.

Officers have been patrolling beaches.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk outlined new home visit rules, saying the two visitors could be a "close friend or a relative, but they should be known to you".

"We need to be shrinking our world," she said.

The Coast had 165 coronavirus cases as of yesterday.

Originally published as Barricades erected as border rules get tougher


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