‘We will close more beaches if you push us’
BARRIERS will be placed on the road into The Spit tonight as council shuts down three of the Gold Coast's busiest beaches to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Locals have also been put on notice that more closures will follow if the weekend scenes of packed beaches are repeated.
A disappointed and angry Mayor Tom Tate yesterday announced the closure of The Spit, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta beaches, saying he could no longer tolerate the brazen crowds who packed beaches despite a week of repeated warnings.
Cr Tate blamed the crowds on visitors from Brisbane and Logan and slammed their behaviour.
"Unfortunately over the weekend out of towners descended in mass numbers and I fear this number will increase over the Easter weekend," he said. "Therefore, as of midnight Tuesday, The Spit, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta beaches will be closed.
"I say to Logan and Brisbane people, we love you but we do not want you visiting us right now."
Cr Tate said "the balance" of beaches would remain open for locals.
"I didn't want to do this, but what happened over the weekend showed me especially people visiting from Brisbane are not listening to us," he said.
The closures will come into effect at 11.59pm tonight:
● Coolangatta Beach will be closed from Greenmount Point to the Coolangatta groyne.
● Surfers Paradise Beach will be closed from Clifford St Tower 33 to South Narrowneck Tower 37 adjacent to Higman St.
● The Spit will be closed from Tower 42 adjacent to SeaWorld to the Rock Wall adjacent to Tower 46.
Council is also set to have parking officers redeployed to The Spit to monitor and crack down on illegal parking.
The closures come after Cr Tate warned of tighter restrictions following the busy weekend with large crowds at the Spit and fury at Springbrook.
Most parks and the city's normally busy famed shopping precincts are ghost towns but with perfect weather The Spit became one of the Coast's busiest locations.
Coolangatta councillor Gail O'Neill said she was "extremely disappointed" the decision had to be made.
"Both the Mayor and the Premier gave warnings several days ago and unfortunately there were several people who decided over the weekend to come to our beaches for leisure activities rather than exercise while keeping social distancing," she said.
The move was welcomed by the city's top medical official.
Gold Coast medical Association president Dr Philip Morris praised the move saying it would help slow the spread of COVID-19.
"I agree wholeheartedly because people who are flouting the rules on the beach need to be stopped," he said.
"The council is taking this seriously and we would like the population to do the same
"I congratulate them on taking what is an important measure to improve public safety."
Images of a full carpark at The Spit on Saturday prompted the council and Gold Coast Waterways Authority to close the car park area to the public.
However, the crowds returned in force on Sunday morning, with drivers simply parking along SeaWorld Dr instead and walking down to the sand.
Crowds also returned to Springbrook despite warnings to stay away, while drivers on the southern Gold Coast were caught out illegally entering Queensland by driving around border barriers.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll yesterday said drivers faced $1400 fines if they were caught out driving around without a reasonable reason.
"Technically if it's non-essential travel, you're not compliant," she said.
Originally published as 'We will close more beaches if you push us'