MEASURES: The Emerald skate park has been filled with sand to stop people ignoring new social distancing rules introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19.
MEASURES: The Emerald skate park has been filled with sand to stop people ignoring new social distancing rules introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Drastic measures close skatepark to stop ignorance

THE Emerald skatepark has been filled with sand to help enforce new social distancing rules.

Central Highlands Regional Council General Manager Communities John McDougall said the measure was brought in after police raised concerns about youth ignoring the restrictions.

“We have filled the Emerald skate park with sand as a trial to prevent its use,” he said.

“While it may seem drastic, unfortunately our youth are just not listening to police.

“So, we felt this was an important step to take to ensure our people, particularly our children, stay safe and healthy.”

The federal government announced the closure of all skate parks, public playgrounds and outside gyms on Monday, followed by Queensland enforcing the two-person limit to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Officer in Charge of Emerald Police Station, Senior Sergeant Peter McFarlane said overall, police were pleased with the way people were abiding by the restrictions.

“We’re finding that majority of people are doing the right thing,” he said.

“It’s school holidays and it’s really hard for young people.

“The temptations will always there to be with their friends and the skatepark is a popular place.

“But they need to ensure they are following the rules because the last thing we want to do is issue infringement notices.”

Mr McFarlane said locals could no longer have large gatherings, parties or BBQ’s that involved more than two friends or relatives who didn’t reside at the premises.

“People are hurting, we understand that,” he said.

“But we won’t have a choice but to issue (infringement notices) to people who ignore warnings.

“We certainly are empathetic to everything happening. We just want people to do the right thing.”

Mr McDougall said with school holidays starting, it was important for parents to take responsibility for what their children are doing and where they are.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is that everyone follow the rules around social distancing and gathering in groups,” he said.

“The National Cabinet has introduced these measures to keep us all safe and slow the spread of this virus.

‘These are difficult and challenging times for everyone, and we all have to make big changes in how we go about our daily lives. Let’s work together and do the right thing.”

Council will continue to monitor other skate parks and public facilities in the region and consult with police.