Backpackers kicked out of caravan park during virus pandemic
BACKPACKERS in Gatton have learned the hard way that failing to respect social distancing rules has consequences.
Gatton Caravan Park management is taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously, implementing strict new rules for its residents and extending its cleaning routine.
Social distancing is at the heart of the new rules, which were put in place to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
Operations manager Brett Fort said rules were introduced prior to government directions.
"We took measures well and truly before the government directions came in," Mr Fort said.
"We were already self-quarantining for 14 days all new guests before they could even get to the park to make sure nobody could bring anything in."
The park also closed down its new 120-bedroom dormitory just two weeks after opening it.
"It was completely full but we closed it and moved everyone to self-isolating caravans," Mr Fort said.
"It was bad timing but we had to do what we had to do."
Residents, most of whom are backpackers, are isolating across the park's 126 caravans.
"They can only leave to go the shops (in groups of) two at a time, and the only reason they can leave is to go to the shops," Mr Fort said.
Only one person per caravan is permitted to leave their caravan at a time, including to make trips to the communal bathroom.
Seven residents have already learned the hard way that breaking the rules has consequences.
"We have evicted people if they haven't followed rules - we're just not taking any chances," Mr Fort said.
For the most part, backpackers are respecting the rules.
"They know they're here to work and that their borders are closed back home - particularly in Spain, Italy and the UK," Mr Fort said.
Mr Fort said the park had hired security guards to enforce the rules and said police had also been patrolling the park.
"The police are coming through most days and residents are very aware of that," he said.
"The police are very happy with the way we've isolated."