FOUR people staying at an Airbnb at Rye last week were each fined $1860 for being outside their five-kilometre limit while the landlord was fined $10,900 for hosting them.
The peninsula’s local area commander Inspector Terry Rowlands said the business fine was a “warning applicable to all Airbnbs” against hosting guests from outside their areas.
“Local police … supported by other specialist areas are actively in the community ensuring that any blatant and obvious breaches of the CHO directions are enforced,” he said.
“The fines for those breaching the Chief Health Officer’s directions are severe for both individuals and businesses alike.
“I should stress … that there is also an onus and applicable fines for other B&B owners who rent out their holiday homes during the restriction period. These fines are also hefty.”
Police last week fined an alleged Mount Eliza party host $200 for not wearing a face mask. They were also assessing whether to fine him $1817 for refusing to comply with a direction requirement relating to alleged incidents in Clendon Close, off Tower Road, Saturday night 14 August (“Police turn away party-goers” The News 17/8/21).
Inspector Rowlands said messages from health officials has been clear “particularly around the reasons to leave home”.
“Victoria Police are committed to ensuring these reasons are adhered to,” he said.
Inspector Rowlands said most people on the peninsula were “doing the right thing in ensuring our safety during the pandemic”.
“I’d also like to thank those in the community who let us know when those around them choose to ignore the CHO directions.”
Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said welcomed the increased police presence to deal with lockdown violators.
“Under the direction of the Chief Health Officer we are all required to stay home yet we are hearing from our community that visitors from Melbourne are travelling to the peninsula to use short stay rental properties,” she said.
“This is not complying with lockdown regulations and there are hefty fines for those involved, including for the owners of short stay rental properties.”
Cr O’Connor said having visitors from Melbourne and elsewhere travel to the peninsula during lockdown “puts our community at greater risk of a COVID-19 outbreak”.
“We have one of the highest populations of older people in the state and they are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus,” she said.
“These are tough times and this lockdown has tested the resilience of us all. Ignoring the rules and travelling beyond your five kilometre zone is not going to help us get out of lockdown sooner.”
Cr O’Connor said with vaccination rates increasing daily, it was “hopefully only a matter of weeks before the worst is over”.
Anyone suspecting a short stay rental property is being misused can call 000 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.