Playgrounds, outside gyms and skate parks in the Central Highlands Regional Council area are now closed.
Playgrounds, outside gyms and skate parks in the Central Highlands Regional Council area are now closed.

Playgrounds closed and gatherings limited in Central Highlands

PUBLIC playgrounds, outside gyms and skate parks in the Central Highlands Regional Council area are now closed.

The closures add to the list of non-essential council-owned facilities that have already shut as a result of the Australian Government’s restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The closures come into place alongside tighter restrictions for gatherings in public and private homes.

Australians continue to be encouraged to work from home and Queensland schools have introduced a student-free week extending the first-term school holidays.

The limit on indoor and outdoor gatherings is now two people, including private properties. This limit excludes people living in the same household.

Families can also visit each other following social distancing protocols.

Council’s communities general manager John McDougall said the protocols and restrictions are a change for everyone, but it was vital for Central Highlanders to cooperate.

“These are unusual times for us all, but we must work together as a community,” he said.

”Whether we have confirmed cases in our region or not, this is about preparing ourselves and doing the right thing to get through this situation as best as we can.

“The most important take away is, you can still visit the park with your family or roommates if you live in the same house – but the playground and outdoor gym areas will be closed.

“You can go and shop for essentials and necessities. If that means buying a football so your kids can kick it in the park while playgrounds are closed, that is a necessity.

“If you are wanting to go for a run with your friend that is okay, as long as it is just the two of you if you live in separate households.

“To the best of your ability, at all times should you keep distance between yourself and other people.

“You are doing this not only for yourself and your loved ones. You are doing this for our healthcare workers, their families and people in our communities who are not healthy enough to fight off any flu or virus, like you might be able to.”

Senior Sergeant Peter McFarlane said Emerald Police is urging people to “do the right thing”.

“The closure of public playgrounds including skate parks is going to further restrict our children and with school holidays just around the corner it will be tough for our children to stay away from these popular areas,” he said.

“However, these restrictions are being imposed on all of us to ensure the long term health and safety of our community and we need to ensure we are all complying with the restrictions. I urge all parents to ensure you know where your children are and what they are doing.”

Snr Sgt McFarlane said police had been tasked with ensuring compliance with all of the new restrictions including the new home confinement rules.

“The last thing we want to do is impose on the spot fines which is going to financially hurt people who are already doing it tough,” he said.

“We just ask that you think of the entire community and do the right thing and together we can get through these tough times.”