Groups turned away from school holiday hot-spots
At least 100 holiday makers have had to cancel their holidays on North Stradbroke Island as families gear up for a Queensland-bound school holiday.
North Stradbroke Island is bracing for a flood in trade as 5000 holiday makers converge on the slice of paradise in the coming weeks.
And while the Island is on its way to a COVID-19 comeback, the impacts of the pandemic continue to make a mark.
Straddie Chamber of Commerce chairman and holiday home agent Colin Battersby said his business had no choice but to cancel nine or 10 group bookings for more than 10 people each due to COVID-19 restrictions which now limit the number of people allowed to gather in the one place.
"They can't go to the beach together, can't go to the pub together," he said.
He said when the groups booked some of the island's larger holiday homes, no such restrictions were in place however laws had again tightened in recent weeks.
Police have also grown their presence on the island ahead of the holiday season and have sent a strong warning to visitors that COVID-19 restrictions must be adhered to.
Bayside Patrol Group Inspector Lindsay Kilpatrick said additional police would be sent to the island to bolster the number of officers already posted at Dunwich Station and Point Lookout Police Beat.
He reminded those holidaying on the island to be COVID-19 vigilant and stay 1.5 metres distance whenever possible, and ensure that no more than 10 people gather together in public or private premises unless they were exempt.
Breaches may result in fines up to $13,000 or six months in prison.
He also reminded senior high school students planning to party on the island that "act responsibly".
"We are urging parents to consider the possible consequences of providing alcohol to young people, also reminding them that a decision to supply alcohol to an underage child could result in fines of up to $3,000.
"Young people are welcome on North Stradbroke Island but like everyone else, need to celebrate within the law."
However on the whole, Mr Battersby said the seasonal outlook for the island was positive despite COVID-19 rules ramping up again.
He said bookings for hotel rooms and holiday homes which were just months ago left empty due to tight COVID-19 restrictions had again surged.
Mr Battersby said bookings were back where they "should be" for this time of year - in a what was a welcome turn of events for the island's economy.
He said the busier than normal winter bookings had been a healthy indicator that this holiday season would be a big one - bringing with it that jump in trade local businesses depend on each year but were denied at Easter.
"We're always fully booked ad this time of year... so we're back to where we should be," Mr Battersby said.
Originally published as Groups turned away from school holiday hot-spots