Traders fined after numerous warnings for breaches
MORE than $21,000 in fines have been imposed on four Far Northern businesses, including a prominent Cairns eatery, after they were found breaching COVID-safe plans despite being warned multiple times.
The Cairns Tropical Public Health Service has revealed that the eateries and licenced venues failed to address several breaches, potentially exposing their staff and patrons to the coronavirus.
Three of the businesses were fined $6670 while a sole trader was fined $1134 for failing to record and provide patrons' contact details, as well as lack of social distancing and hygiene.
The breaches were uncovered during recent region-wide compliance checks by emergency officers, who had been auditing restricted businesses and events.
Cairns Tropical Public Health Service director Richard Gair said it was disappointing operators were not doing everything they could to protect the public from the potentially deadly virus.
"It is unfortunate that we have our first business being fined, but people's health and safety is paramount," Dr Gair said.
"There is a lot more room for improvement.
"As we have seen in Victoria, the virus can spread very quickly if undetected."
Dr Gair urged operators to do more to make the region COVID-19 free, particularly in light of the recent confirmed cases in southeast Queensland.
Failing to comply with the Chief Health Officer's directions could result in fines of $6672 for corporations and $1334 for sole traders.
If further breaches are detected after a fine is issued, businesses may be forced to shut down until their procedures are brought up to standard.
The service's environmental health manager, Brad Milligan, said patrons' information would be used only if there was an outbreak of the virus.
"The information is used to contact people as quickly as possible to alert them to the potential risk of COVID-19 and to advise them to take appropriate measures, including getting tested," Mr Milligan said.
"This measure really is about protecting people, families and the vulnerable."
The fines come as the North Queensland Primary Health network urges people to get tested for COVID-19 if they are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared Greater Sydney a coronavirus hotspot and Queensland recorded several new coronavirus cases.
General practitioner Peter Vanrietvelde, from Cairns Respiratory Clinic in Woree, said the new cases and the ongoing outbreaks in Victoria and NSW should act as firm reminders for Far North Queenslanders to get tested if they are showing symptoms.
Originally published as Traders fined after numerous warnings for breaches