Local police warn residents to stay home this Easter


Karlie Brady


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Senior Constable Daniel Mcleod is one of the Port Douglas Police officers helping stop the spread of the virus by enforcing non-essential travel restrictions. Image: Karlie Brady.

It will be an Easter like no other and local police will be out in force patrolling the roads to ensure residents are heeding national warnings to stay home this Easter to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Port Douglas Officer in Charge, Sergeant Damian Meadows, has warned that although it is a long weekend strict travel restrictions are still in place and police will be on the lookout for people flaunting the rules.

“If there is no reason for you to travel or it doesn’t meet the essential travel criteria you will be facing a $1334 ticket,” Sergeant Meadows said.

“The restriction on travel is imperative to flattening the curve if we don’t follow social distancing rules the outcome won’t be good.”

In Queensland, you are only allowed to leave home for essential purposes including:
• shopping for essentials - food and necessary supplies;
• medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements;
• exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements;
• work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.

See the extended list here.

Sergeant Meadows said local police are randomly intercepting vehicles to determine if movements are essential.

“Taking your motorcycle out for a Sunday spin is not essential travel.

“You can’t just drive to the beach to sit on the beach, you are allowed to exercise but if you’re just going to sit, that is not okay.

“We are asking for drivers' licences and if the address on the licence does not fall within the Shire they will be asked some pressing questions and if they don’t satisfy police they will face fines.”

Sergeant Meadows said so far they haven’t handed out any fines but officers have had enough of dishing out warnings and people will be fined if they do not follow the rules.

“We have intercepted people from Cairns coming up to put crab pots in or people from Gordonvale coming up to fish. There is no excuse for that.”

Sergeant Meadows reminded residents that the rules also apply to gatherings at personal properties. Only two people who are not ordinarily members of that household are permitted to visit and they must have a legitimate reason.

“People having parties is a big no, while you may think you’re not hurting anyone it is that unknown community contact that will spread the virus.

“Health practitioners are putting their lives at risk and they are doing a great job and this is about keeping them safe, it's about keeping your grandparents safe, and stopping the spread.”

He added that as a community we are currently well-positioned but we must ensure the safety of the vulnerable in our community.

“The sooner we get over this curve and down the other side is when the government will look at reducing restrictions.

“It’s a big effort now for a big payday at the end,” Sergeant Meadows said.

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