Queenslanders caught without a face mask will not be fined, in a call which has sparked confusion after the Premier warned anyone not wearing one would cop a $ 200 fine.
Instead Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski on Saturday said the police would be taking a more lenient approach, and handing out masks instead of fining people.
He said there had been three people so far who had been issued fines, but only after they denied repeated attempts by officers to wear one.
They copped the heftier $ 1300 fine for ignoring a police instruction and the chief health officer’s COVID-19 directions.
“They were offered masks by police officers, they refused to wear them. They were then given directions to go home and they failed to follow and they were then dealt with,” Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said.
“We are giving people the option to wear a mask. We are providing them a mask. If they don‘t do that, it is actually a more serious offence. The message is if police officers are offering you a mask, you need to put it on.”
When asked about the $ 200 fine for not wearing a face mask, Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said it was a “piece of work still underway”.
“We are not taking action at the moment,” he said.
“We are taking an education-communication approach.”
Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said police had up to 40,000 masks to hand out to people.
It’s sparked confusion after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned on Friday residents who weren’t wearing a face mask when outside their homes risked on-the-spot fines of up to $ 200.
The restrictions come as the Queensland Government clamps down on a highly infectious strain of COVID-19 from the UK detected in Brisbane.
Residents in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands council areas will only be able to leave their home for four reasons from 6pm on Friday until 6pm on Monday.
They must wear the face mask while out.
Funerals will be limited to 20 people, weddings to 10, and authorities have urged people not to go to non-essential businesses, including gyms.
Greater Brisbane residents will be allowed to leave their homes for essential work, to shop for essentials, to provide essential care, and for exercise.
Restaurants and cafes can remain open for takeaway only.