IN THE absence of a holiday home ban by the Police Minister Lisa Neville during her media conference last Thursday, people did arrive in Bass Coast and South Gippsland to use their “second” home at the coast.

And despite wholesale cancellations of rental accommodation, a small number did arrive to stay illegally over the Easter.

Channel Nine news is reporting that overseas tourists were caught by local police deliberately flouting Victoria’s strict stay-at-home restrictions, partying at a rental property at Phillip Island.

And while they were the only ones reported as being caught, there were allegedly dozens of homes rented out through Airbnb.

“All of the agents told them no (rental inquiries) but we knew there would still be people booking by Airbnb and there were dozens of them down here,” said Greg Price of Alex Scott and Staff.

In NSW the shut it down but not in Victoria and that was the result.”

Victoria Police confirmed a number of international partygoers were fined over the Easter long weekend for ignoring the COVID-19 measures, where they were found to be breaching travel restrictions, as well as the gathering rule at a short-stay rental in Cowes.

Fines for breaching the state’s stage three restrictions are $1652 for individuals and $9913 for businesses.

It comes after both the Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister Neville urged Victorians to “stay home” but stopped short of banning holiday home visits.

“You can’t rent a holiday house, an Airbnb, you can’t camp, go to a caravan park, you can’t boat or fish, you can’t catch up with friends or family that don’t live with you,” she said, but some selfishly flouted the rules.

Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child and shire CEO Ali Wastie made pleas recently to holiday homeowners to stay away, for fear of leaving the region with a COVID-19 legacy that local health services are not equipped to handle.