Inspector Mark Burgess at the Rockhampton police station.
Inspector Mark Burgess at the Rockhampton police station.

Police message to residents as COVID-19 restrictions ease

POLICE are bracing for busy roads and crowded waterways as Central Queenslanders are given the chance to make their way to the coast this weekend after weeks of isolating at home.

COVID-19 guidelines from 11.59pm Friday, including the ability to travel 50km, have picnics in the park, and more opportunities for recreation and non-essential shopping.

Inspector Mark Burgess said the community's good work following health directives must continue for the eased restrictions to remain.

"One restriction on that which underpins everything we've been trying to do, is to maintain social distancing," he said.

"Regardless of the acts they will undertake, they must maintain the 1.5m space between them and others.

"We all have a part to play."

Inspector Burgess said people could expect a greater, more visible police presence at parks, shopping centres, boat ramps, beaches and waterways including major dams in Emerald and Gladstone.

"We do not want to see people packing into shops where that social distancing cannot be maintained," he said

"Our role will be about educating and showing compassion but where there is blatant of reckless breaches of the chief health offices directives, people can expect to be fined."

To date, police in the Capricornia district have issued 36 infringements for breaching restrictions which Inspector Burgess labelled a "low percentage".

As for the 50km travel rule, he said police would take a commonsense approach with some leniency.

"Were not going to be getting out maps to work out if someone has travelled 55km … there is some grey in that regard and we certainly understand that," he said.

"There is not going to be a demarcation point that we're going to map."

The 50km rule applies to boating making Great Keppel Island off limits for Rockhampton-based boaties.

Police are expecting "above average crowds" on the cap coast this weekend.

"It may be a case that it's returning to somewhat of a normal pattern down there," Inspector Burgess said.

People flouting COVID-19 restrictions can expect on the spot fines of $1334 for individuals and $6,672 for businesses which fail to abide by the health directions.