Queensland police say businesses relying on signage instead of checking the vaccination status of customers could be fined for not following the government’s health directives.
- Police say businesses should not rely on printed signs as an alternative to checking vaccination certificates
- It has been almost a month since the mandate came into effect
- Two Gold Coast businesses have been fined and more could follow for non-compliance
The police warning came as Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, John Gerrard, confirmed a significant “surge” of COVID on the Gold Coast.
Dr Gerrard said 11 of the state’s 21 COVID patients requiring ICU treatment were being cared for in Gold Coast hospitals.
Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said mask compliance on the coast was very low, despite the growing COVID case numbers.
Some Gold Coast businesses are displaying signs that read “our job is done” as an alternative to checking vaccination certificates.
Police say those businesses are not taking “reasonable steps” to abide by the government’s vaccine mandate, which came into effect almost a month ago.
So far just two Gold Coast businesses have been fined since the rules were introduced, with police saying compliance around the coast is “good” overall.
‘Onus’ on businesses
Dr Gerrard said six of the 11 Gold Coast ICU patients were unvaccinated.
“It’s not surprising given the sheer number of interstate visitors which would have caused seeding events to have occurred,” he said.
Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said businesses were responsible for checking customers’ vaccination certificates, in line with the government mandate.
“”All reasonable steps’ is what the [Health] direction says,” he said.
He said individuals needed to “play their part and actually be vaccinated” and be able to show proof when asked.
“But from a business perspective, it’s really important that that compliance element sits with the business,” he said.
Police issue fines
Since the vaccine mandate came into effect, police have issued two fines to Gold Coast businesses for non-compliance, and are checking “hundreds” each week.
Acting Chief Superintendent Wildman said that over the weekend, police checked on 139 Gold Coast businesses and issued “a number of warnings”.
“Just over the last week, we have issued six fines for non-compliance with a mask … and over the weekend we handed out 470 masks across the Gold Coast.
“A lot of that was actually around our large shopping centres and those precincts.”
Before Christmas, Gold Coast business Artichoke was fined and forced to closed for not abiding by the vaccine mandate rules.
Acting Chief Superintendent Wildman said the business remains closed.
“A number of warnings have been provided and one of the businesses in particular, which was the focus before Christmas, is still closed at this point in time,” he said.
‘Business as usual’ for police
Acting Chief Superintendent Wildman said business and mask compliance tasks were now part of officers’ normal rosters.
He said police were generally happy with the way businesses had handled the changes, but the community was still reporting non-compliant businesses to Crime Stoppers.
“I have some concerns about some businesses that [the public] believe are not doing the right thing,” he said.