By Romy Stephens
Parks Victoria will close the 1000 Steps and Redwood Forest for over two weeks due to physical distancing concerns.
From 5 June until 11.59pm on 21 June the two popular sites will remain closed under the direction of the Chief Health Officer.
The closures will be enforced ahead of the upcoming Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
It comes after the 1000 Steps, Redwood Forest and Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens were closed due to unprecedented visitation on 30 May.
Police had already been called to monitor the Redwood Forest the weekend prior as locals grew concerned about severe overcrowding as traffic overflowed onto surrounding roads.
Despite these attempts to manage social distancing, traffic and public safety concerns, the events have prompted further closures.
Spot checks will be conducted to ensure compliance with the closures.
A majority of the state’s parks and reserves remain open, however, physical distancing directions are in place.
Parks Victoria is urging people to observe physical distancing of 1.5m, not gather in groups of more than 20 people, check the park is open before travelling and avoid parks that are typically busy on a weekend.
Parks visitors are also being urged to carry hand sanitiser, avoid attending a site if the car park is full, stay safe, be prepared for cold weather and clean barbecue facilities before and after use.
Yarra Ranges councillor Jim Child said, “Outside of the City of Melbourne, Yarra Ranges is the most visited tourist region in Victoria – and that’s something we’re incredibly proud of.
“The last thing we would want to see is outbreaks from hundreds of people visiting an area in the region, which could result in people’s health being at risk and restrictions being re-introduced by the State Government.”
Communal areas, such as shared bathrooms and kitchens, remain closed.
For more information, visit www.parks.vic.gov.au/covid19.