CALLS for roadblocks to be set up along the Great Ocean Road to stop tourists visiting coastal towns this Easter long weekend have been met with support locally.
Corangamite Shire Council mayor Neil Trotter has backed a statement issued by Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson to set up police checkpoints to hinder holidaymakers driving to the coast and putting lives at risk.
"We've been at this issue for quite some time, there is concern along the coast about itinerant travellers, such as grey nomads and people in vans still accessing the coast," Cr Trotter said.
"There is a strong feeling here that people shouldn't be accessing holiday houses and should be staying home.
"People in these areas are very fearful of contamination coming into area and extra pressure on our health services. We've only got small health services outside of Warrnambool and they need to be ready to combat whatever is happening in the region.
"They don't need the spread of the virus."
Cr Trotter said the Easter long weekend usually draws 10,000 people to the Twelve Apostles each day alone.
Ahead of the long weekend, Parks Victoria closed a number of parks, including:
- Bay of Islands Coastal Park
- Discovery Bay Coastal Park
- Grampians National Park
- Great Otway National Park*
- Lower Glenelg National Park
- Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park*
- Port Campbell National Park
- Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
Great Otway National Park and Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park are partially open for local community members to exercise only.
The closures will be enforced and police will patrol the area.
Port Campbell beach has also been closed.
'Mixed messaging needs to stop'
The mixed messaging around coronavirus travel restrictions need to stop and clear directions made, South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said.
Ms Britnell said people are being told to not travel away from their own homes in one breath, but then are told going to their holiday home along the coast is legal in the next.
Ms Britnell said it was causing angst amongst her constituents.
"People in the south-west are frustrated by this. They are trying to do the right thing and are expecting their fellow Victorians to do the same," she said.
"But then the police minister stands up and says it's legal to travel to your holiday home, but you shouldn't do it. She took an each-way bet.
"If people shouldn't do it, then a clear direction needs to be made ruling it out under the laws in place.
"It's continued mixed messaging like this that is creating mass amounts of confusion and frustration. Everyone needs to be on the same page as we deal with the coronavirus. Confusion like this risks people becoming non-compliant.
"Restrictions need to be in place if we are to suppress this virus, there absolutely no denying that, but they must be clear and consistent."
The state government has already warned Victorians against taking a trip over Easter, but Premier Daniel Andrews said he wouldn't stop people travelling to their own holiday home.
Mr Andrews has repeatedly told Victorians that the Easter weekend was not an opportunity to go away, but said families going to their holiday homes would not be penalised.
"This is not a holiday weekend," he said on Wednesday. "Please ask yourselves a pretty simple question, 'do I need to go there?'
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