Car parks at a number of Sunshine Coast beaches will close from midnight tonight (Thursday April 9) in a bid to deter people travelling to these locations and reduce the risk of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) being transmitted within our community these Easter holidays.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) Chair Mark Jamieson said the car park closures would assist in limiting the number of people visiting from outside the area and gathering at our most popular beaches and increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The following beach carparks would be closed until further notice, following a request from the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service to Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie councils to urgently consider increasing barriers to access to public spaces, including beaches:
· Coolum – the main carpark at the skate bowl and the Coolum Surf Club car park;
· Mudjimba Esplanade car park;
· Maroochydore – near beach access 141 car park north of Maroochy Surf Club; Maroochy Surf Club car park and beach access 150 car park;
· Alex Surf Club – car parks north and south of the surf club;
· Mooloolaba – northern car park; Beach Terrace car park; Mooloolaba Surf Club car park; Mooloolaba spit off street car parks;
· Buddina – at Kawana Surf Club;
· Dicky Beach car park;
· Moffat Beach car park and Lower Neill Street car park;
· Kings Beach – the Esplanade car park;
· Happy Valley – the Esplanade car park; and
· Bulcock Beach car park.
This decision – which is supported by Surf Life Saving Queensland, the Queensland Police Service and the Department of Transport and Main Roads – has been made in the interests of protecting the health and safety of the community and takes into account the heightened risk of people from south east Queensland travelling to the Sunshine Coast this weekend, due to the closure of three major beaches on the Gold Coast.
“I have been saying all week that our region’s beaches must not be used as gathering places,” Mayor Jamieson said.
"Our message has been pretty simple – stay home for your own safety and for our residents’ safety.
“Clearly this concern is shared by the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service otherwise this request would not have been made of Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie councils.
“I understand they do not want to see a rise in the number of infections in the next two to three weeks as a result of people travelling unnecessarily over the Easter weekend and our council likewise, does not want our community placed at risk.
“This is a decision that no one likes taking, but public safety is – and must be – our number one priority.
"So, this weekend, we are asking people to stay home and stay safe.
“For our residents, if you do need to go out to exercise, then stay in your local area to avoid crowding.
“If your exercise involves going to the beach, then you must comply with the social distancing requirements and not congregate in groups of more than two people unless they are members of your household.
“And if you are not an experienced swimmer – stay out of the water.”
Queensland Police Service, Sunshine Coast District Officer, A/Superintendent Jason Overland said the message had been very clear – stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to go outside.
“The vast majority are doing the right thing and following the rules, but we need to ensure there’s 100 per cent compliance,” A/Superintendent Overland said.
“On the spot fines can and will be issued to anyone who is flouting the rules,” he said.
Council strongly encourages our residents not to travel away from home unless shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, undertaking daily exercise or attending work or education that could not be undertaken from home.
Under the home confinement public health direction a person who resides in Queensland must not leave their principal place of residence except for necessary permitted purposes. This does not include leisure travel.
“Now is not the time for people to leave their local area,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This public health direction is currently in place until May 19 and may be extended further.”
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.
For the latest information about council facilities and services and business assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit council’s website www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.
The website will be updated as changes to council’s services occur. It also includes information on how to contact council.