Police step up coronavirus patrols on Coast beaches

POLICE are already stepping up beach patrols aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus, threatening a four-strong group of German students playing volleyball with $1300 fines in Surfers Paradise this afternoon.

But the students told the Bulletin the rules were "confusing", three of them lived together so they were part of the same "bubble" and that beach volleyball should be ok. They also felt the Australian response overall, particularly shutting borders, had been "too slow".

Two police approached the group of Griffith University exchange students who had been sunbaking together before their volleyball started on the southern stretch of Surfers Paradise beach this afternoon.

One officer told them they were only allowed to be in pairs maximum and lucky not to get a $1300 fine each. They were told to consider themselves warned and to leave the beach immediately.

The stretch of beach where they were is outside the area which will be off limits in central Surfers Paradise from midnight tomorrow.

Police speak to a group of German students playing volleyball on Surfers Paradise beach. Picture: Ryan Keen.
Police speak to a group of German students playing volleyball on Surfers Paradise beach. Picture: Ryan Keen.

One of the students, who declined to be named but noted they had been living on the Gold Coast since February, said he understood that by sunbaking in a group on the sand they had breached the rules.

"We had been laying in a group. I understand it. But what I don't 100 per cent understand is that we are allowed to exercise but not allowed to play beach volleyball. Three of us are living together here in Surfers Paradise," he said.

The group said they had all opted to remain on the Gold Coast throughout the pandemic, partly because of the nicer weather and tighter restrictions back home in Germany.

Asked what they thought of the Australian response to coronavirus so far, one said: "Too slow. They should have shut down the borders way earlier. Griffith Uni also responded very late.

"We decided ourselves to stop going to parties or going out six or seven weeks ago. We have just kept to our group of best friends."



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