CRACKDOWN: Fines imminent for tourists flouting rules
HOLIDAY makers who plan to visit the Tweed for the Easter break have been warned to reconsider.
Tourists caught staying in accommodation for a holiday on the Tweed risk being fined $1000 according to senior police.
Tweed Byron Police Superintendent David Roptell said there would be boots on the ground to enforce the essential travel regulations.
Superintendent Roptell said the community needed to take responsibility for their actions and help to stop the spread of coronavirus.
"If you're travelling up here over the Easter period and intending on attending a motel, hotel or other accommodation for recreation purposes, it's not on," Supt Roptell said.
"If you're found and it's proven and there's enough evidence to suggest that's occurred, heavy fines will be in place."
He said the majority of people were respecting the coronavirus regulations, but the ones who weren't were causing anxiety in the community.
"If people are out there breaching the regulations, then we have more anxiety in the community," he said.
Superintendent Roptell said there was no regulation stopping people from coming to the Tweed for essential travel but still had to practise social distancing.
"We haven't closed our borders," he said.
"Going down to the beach at this point is still acceptable, but again, people have to take responsibility in doing that.
"Gone are the days at the moment of pulling up a towel and congregating around together of more than two people."
Tweed MP Geoff Provest slammed the idea the Tweed needed to shut down its borders and asked the community to trust what the police say.
Mr Provest said it was upsetting and concerning certain people were advocating for a closure.
He said it was a waste of time having police sitting on a motorcycle at the Queensland border instead of patrolling the streets.
"Our advice from our chief medical officer and senior police both here and in Sydney is a better use of our resources is not to close the border," Mr Provest said.
"If you look at the number of cases, a lot of that is people breaching social distancing regulations.
"We have 38 cases (of coronavirus) in our local health district and that will continue to grow unless people listen. This is serious."
Mr Provest said there was a spike in coronavirus cases in the Tweed after a recent hen's party.
He wouldn't comment further about the incident but asked the community to work together to kerb the spread of the coronavirus.
"We're not over this yet and we're not going to be over it for some time. But we can get over it if we cut down on the social transmission of this disease.
"The health of our nation is serious."
Mayor of Tweed Katie Milne said going on holiday to the Tweed was not a reasonable excuse under the new NSW Government's Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 and NSW Police would act.
"This is a time of crisis, not a time to take a break in the Tweed or anywhere else," Cr Milne said.
"It's absolutely vital that everyone follows these new laws to stay at home and not to gather - and that means staying in the home where you usually live, not a holiday home.
"This applies to our neighbours on the Gold Coast and in Byron Shire considering a day-trip to the Tweed."
Heavy penalties apply through the Public Health Act 2010, which allows for a maximum penalty for an individual of imprisonment for six months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.
"We all need to follow these rules to save the lives of the people we love. Everyone knows someone whose health is compromised but healthy younger people can get very ill too," she said.
"We must be even more vigilant in our Shire. One third of our residents are over 60 years old and 4.4 per cent of residents are Aboriginal - they are all in the vulnerable category.
"Don't take a holiday in the Tweed now or over Easter, and if you know someone who's planning a trip tell them to think again.
"Come back and visit our beautiful Shire when the government has declared that this crisis is over. For now, you must stay away."