The Fleurieu Peninsula will not be a holiday playground at Easter

CLOSED FOR BUSINESS: City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins wants visitors to stay home this Easter.
CLOSED FOR BUSINESS: City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins wants visitors to stay home this Easter.

At Easter, the Fleurieu Peninsula always bustles with big crowds and celebrations, but due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), this holiday season will be different with community leaders telling visitors not to come.

Yankalilla Council CEO Nigel Morris said during this crisis, he asked visitors and locals to comply with government guidelines on social distancing and essential travel requirements.

"Visitors are an important part of the local economy and once restrictions are lifted we will happily welcome you back to our beautiful part of the world," Mr Morris said.

"We have received reports from all over the district that people were not staying away. This is irresponsible to not only our community, including many in the vulnerable category, but to each other.

"We ask that our community to stay home and we ask the same of visitors. Please stay in your own homes, close to your medical infrastructure, your shops and your support base. We all must take action to save lives in your community.

"We look forward to getting through this together and again enjoying the district."

Yankalilla Council Mayor Glen Rowlands said it was time to be cautious.

Yankalilla Council Mayor Glen Rowlands and CEO Nigel Morris.

Yankalilla Council Mayor Glen Rowlands and CEO Nigel Morris.

"We must be careful, as our region does not have a lot of medical facilities, but many elderly people. Travellers bring this virus in, not locals. Please, stay home, even if you have a holiday place here. Stay home," Mr Rowlands said.

"If too many people come we will need to put an imaginary boom gate at Myponga."

City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins agreed with Mr Rowlands.

"At this point in time stay away. The safety of our community is the utmost priority. Parks and playgrounds are closed and council has closed all holiday activities," Dr Jenkins said.

"Everyone needs to self isolate, but if people want to come to visit or stay in their holiday homes we cannot stop them, as they are ratepayers and have a right to be here.

"However, we would ask them to do the right thing. Do not come and have dinner parties and socialise as normal. Stay in your homes and follow the advice of the health department and government. The number one priority is keeping this community safe."

Member for Finniss David Basham said it was a trying time for everyone.

"The better we get this under control the better we will come out in the end. We need everyone's help," Mr Basham said.

"Do not take holiday or day trips to Victor Harbor, Port Elliot, Middleton or Goolwa. Your actions will help our community in its social distancing practices. Likewise I encourage Fleurieu residents not to travel to other regions unless essential. Please stay home."

Member for Finniss David Basham.

Member for Finniss David Basham.

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie urged South Australians to heed the call from authorities to end unnecessary travel, particularly to the South Coast where the population has the highest median age in SA and is considered one of the localities at highest risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"My message to non-residents is 'if you love the South Coast, stay away'. That means no holidays and no day trips," Ms Sharkie said.

"We know from the tragedy unfolding overseas that people over the age of 80 and those with underlying health conditions tend to be the most vulnerable to coronavirus. Just over 10 per cent of Victor Harbor's residents are aged 80 or over and in Goolwa the percentage is even higher.

"The median age in these two localities alone is around 60 years and residents aged 65 years and over make up around 40 per cent of the population.

"It is understandable that these communities are feeling deeply concerned about being inundated with visitors during the usual peak tourist time of Easter school holidays.

"It's not so easy to restrict travel on the Fleurieu so I call on the South Australian public to do the right thing, the safe thing, and stay home these holidays.

"It doesn't matter if you have a holiday home in the region, stay at the house where you live in most of the time.

"Every one of us needs to do our bit so social distancing can do what it is designed to do, which is to reduce the infection rate by reducing the movement of people who are unaware they have contracted the virus."

Alexandrina Council Mayor Keith Parkes.

Alexandrina Council Mayor Keith Parkes.

Alexandrina Council Mayor Keith Parkes said he joined with other regional Mayors in asking everyone - locals and visitors alike - to do the right thing by staying home these school holidays, including Easter weekend.

"We have a lot of older people living in our region who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the virus; and we implore all South Australians, please - we need your help to keep them safe," Mr Parkes said.

"I'd be really disappointed to see a repeat of last weekend. Let's be serious about the conversation we all should be having. If you live in the metro area, is driving down for a Saturday surf really essential travel? No it's not.

"If people keep doing the wrong thing, Council will move swiftly ahead of the Easter weekend to close known gathering spots under our care and control such as boat ramps, popular car parks and the Goolwa Beach 4WD access track".

"Our beaches, the river, all of our wonderful food and wine businesses, will still be here when we reach the other side. Right now we say to visitors - help us bounce back as quickly as possible by staying away - and when the restrictions are lifted, we will welcome you back with open arms".

Visitors are asked to please re-think and cancel all non-essential travel to the Alexandrina region at this time.

All South Australians should be following government guidelines and staying home unless shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising outdoors or commuting work or education.

If exercising outdoors, please be mindful to keep your distance from others and avoid gathering in groups. If you can't practice good social distancing on the beach or in the carpark, leave and try again another time.

Playgrounds, skate parks, dog parks, BBQ areas and outdoor sporting equipment are all CLOSED. Closure signage is being installed across the region this week.

The majority of the region's caravan parks are closed for all but non-essential travellers. Council has closed Frank Potts Reserve in Langhorne Creek until further notice. Details are available on our website here: www.alexandrina.sa.gov.au/coronavirusresponse

The power to enforce social distancing rules in public places rests with SAPOL. We understand that SAPOL will be patrolling beaches and outdoor areas across the State over the school holiday period, and have the power to issue significant on-the-spot fines for non-compliance.

Council will continue to monitor the situation ahead of the Easter weekend, and we are prepared to close known gathering spots such as boat ramps, popular carparks and the Goolwa Beach 4WD access track if required.

Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.

Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.

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