Barricades go up after visitors flout rules
BURLEIGH Hill on the Gold Coast has been cordoned off after thousands flocked there to watch the sunset in a major breach of social distancing rules.
City of Gold Coast signs warning the public to stay at home amid the COVID-19 crisis were put up in the area after hordes of people visited the picturesque vista on Sunday, forcing police to call for back-up and move the crowd on.
The picnic ground will remain open, but yesterday council workers set up mesh fencing to prevent people congregating in the same way.
Signs stating "the City's primary concern is maintaining the health and wellbeing of our community and staff" were also installed.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the incident had tarnished a "spectacular" effort after COVID-19 restrictions were eased on Friday.
"I am very pleased with what's happened on the weekend; disappointingly Burleigh Heads last night probably ruined what was a spectacular weekend," she said yesterday.
"I've asked the public do not to put themselves in that situation, that if you see a large group of people to move away or go somewhere else.
" It is very very difficult to be compliant when people are congregating in such large groups so please co-operate with us."
However no fines were issued over the incident and Ms Carroll said the crowd was compliant when asked to move on.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the behaviour risked delaying the return to business as usual.
"We won't get the green light to reopen businesses unless the federal and state governments are confident we will all do the right thing," he said.
"Let's show them we can do this so the Gold Coast can get back to business as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, police released footage of house parties in Brisbane and the Gold Coast at the weekend, including one at Carrara on Friday, where dumbfounded officers had to return twice on consecutive nights.
On both occasions the revellers - in their young 20s - were blaring music at the Airbnb property.
"Honestly who do you think you are?," one man asked police. "Who do you think you are?" officers responded, with the man replying: "I'm the birthday boy."
Officers handed out a total of $33,350 in fines for health direction breaches to the party goers and seized their stereo equipment.
In Pimpama on Saturday a group took the easing of restrictions as a cue to get out the disco ball and crank Daddy Yankee's Gasolina.
Police put out that fire with a $1334 fine to the party's host.
In Banyo also on Saturday five women and four men, all in their early 20s, were fined for celebrating a birthday party in a small unit on Tufnell Road.
Commissioner Carroll said officers prioritised compliance but "blatant and reckless disregard" would be met with action.
" I think it's terribly disappointing … that people are just planning parties, knowing they're doing the wrong thing," she said.
Ms Carroll backed the continued easing of restrictions but warned noncompliance "will ruin this for the rest of us".
Originally published as Barricades go up after visitors flout rules