Police praise community in wake of CQ COVID scare
Police have praised the compliance and behaviour of the community after a COVID scare gripped CQ on Monday, with compulsory mask wearing and stricter public health directions introduced.
It comes despite delays of up to two hours being experienced at drive-through virus testing clinics and shops invaded by hordes of panic-buying customers.
The Central Queensland COVID alert was sparked on Monday, March 29, when it was revealed a man who had been exposed to the virus, and had since tested positive, visited seven venues across the region between March 25 and 28.
Hundreds of tests have been carried out in CQ since, with no community transmission recorded.
But Queensland Health states Queensland Police Service and Australian Federal Police officers may take action if a person refuses to wear a face mask without a lawful reason.
“If someone refuses a police direction to wear a mask, police officers can issue an on-the-spot fine of $200, an infringement notice, or a notice to appear in court,” Queensland Health stated.
Under the strengthened public health directions, people are only allowed a maximum of 30 people at their home, including the people they live with.
A maximum of 500 people are permitted to gather in public spaces adhering to social distancing.
Customers must be seated at retail food service and entertainment businesses – no standing or dancing is allowed.
Weddings and funerals can have a maximum of 200 people wearing masks in attendance, or one person every two square metres.
Gladstone police Senior Sergeant Jamie Goodwin said there had been very little trouble since the community became aware of the strict COVID rules being implemented.
Sergeant Goodwin said none of the Gladstone general duties officers had reported any instances of people failing to comply with the tighter restrictions.
“The local community has been amazing and have been wearing masks as per the Chief Health Officers direction,” he said.
“We would like to thank the local community for the ongoing support and understanding.
“The current requirements to wear a mask are different to what we are all used to, but the way our local community has adopted the changes will ensure we keep the community as safe as possible.”
State Disaster coordinator Steve Gollschewski said the community response to the unprecedented measures to reduce the spread of the virus had been very positive.
“The vast majority of Queenslanders recognise the importance of following the public health directions and doing the right thing to keep everyone safe,” Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said.
“We will continue to educate and show compassion when dealing with the public, however, we can take enforcement action if necessary to ensure we are limiting the spread of the virus.
“We encourage members of the public to use the online form to report any blatant breach of the Chief Health Officer’s public health directions.
“This includes large gatherings such as house parties and events where people are obviously ignoring social-distancing rules.”
The Queensland Police Service set-up the online form to allow people to easily report breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s public health directions from their computer or smart phone during the COVID-19 event.
You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.
You must wear a mask in indoor spaces, such as:
- Shopping centres, supermarkets, retail outlets and indoor markets
- Hospitals and aged care facilities
- Hospitality venues such as restaurants and cafes (not required for patrons while seated; customer facing staff only)
- Churches and places of worship
- Indoor recreational facilities and gym (except if doing strenuous exercise)
- Indoor workplaces (where safe to wear a mask and you can’t physically distance)
- Public transport, taxis and rideshare, and waiting places or queues for this transport
airports and travelling on planes.
It is strongly recommended you wear a mask when outdoors if you are unable to stay more than 1.5m from other people, such as busy walkways and thoroughfares.
Depending on COVID testing results, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the rules may be relaxed from 5pm, Thursday April 1.