Corona cops who’ll enforce our restaurant rules

QUEENSLAND councils could be given bolstered powers to slap badly behaving restaurants with fines if they do not comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the State Government is in talks with local government about their possible involvement in enforcing the new rules ahead of the reopening of restaurants and cafes later this week.

This could include enforcing rules about the number of people who will be allowed to dine in restaurants, with the initial limit to be 10 patrons when restrictions begin easing on Friday.

The move, if it goes ahead, would also mean that councils would be saddled with extra costs, according to the Local Government Association of Queensland.

A State Government spokeswoman confirmed the state was in discussions with the LGAQ about the "possible involvement" of councils.

"The details are being worked through," she said.

LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam said the potential new role for councils to supervise social distancing in 30,000 restaurants, cafes and nail salons would come at "significant additional cost" to them, as much of the work would be carried out during out of hours and on weekends.

"But local government will play its part in restarting the economy," Mr Hallam said.



The possible move would most affect big councils in the state's southeast, including Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich, as well as big regional cities like Cairns and Townsville, where most of the businesses are located.

From Friday, up to 10 people at any one time will be permitted to dine at restaurants, cafes and pubs, but they will not be allowed to have access to bars or gaming areas.

They must undertake a "COVID Safe" checklist.

The number of patrons allowed in these venues will lift to a maximum of 20 from June 12, before lifting to a maximum of 100 people from July 10.

Police have so far been largely responsible for enforcing the COVID-19 restrictions, and have issued 1938 fines since March 27 for breaches of public health directions.

Officers can issue $1334 fines to individuals and $6672 fines to corporations who do not comply with the health directions.






Originally published as Corona cops who'll enforce our restaurant rules