Millionaire docked ship at Yamba on trip to Queensland
A Melbourne millionaire who fled the southern COVID hotspot for the Gold Coast with his family and friends on a luxury yacht has been ordered into hotel quarantine.
Construction magnate Mark Simonds, the executive director of the ASX-listed Simonds Group which builds luxury homes, and his family moored on the 30m yacht Lady Pamela on Monday after a 15-day voyage.
They underwent COVID-19 tests at Gold Coast City Marina at Coomera and were initially granted quarantine exemptions.
But after outrage over alleged preferential treatment, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young on Tuesday revoked the exemptions for the seven on board the vessel.
"All seven people are now required to quarantine in a government approved hotel for 14 days at their own expense," a Queensland Health statement said.
It's understood Dr Young had granted the exemption based on incomplete information.
Earlier in the day, when the matter was raised at a press conference, Queensland police said they were investigating whether those onboard the vessel complied with border restrictions. It's not clear if police were aware an exemption had been granted. There is no suggestion the group did anything wrong.
It's understood Mr Simond's wife Cheryl, their youngest son, and Hannah Fox, daughter of Linfox executive chairman Peter Fox, were among others who travelled on-board the 40-metre yacht, which left Melbourne on August 9.
Under current COVID-19 law, anyone travelling into Queensland from a declared hotspot by boat are able to avoid the mandatory 14 day quarantine, providing they have been isolated at sea and returned a negative test result upon arrival to the state.
Concerns were raised however, as reports emerge claiming those on-board The Lady Pamela have docked several times throughout their two week journey, including when they stopped to swim at the Clarence River in northern New South Wales.
Earlier on Tuesday, before the backflip, Dr Young had said she was not immediately aware of the specifics of the case however doubted a quarantine exemption would have been allowed if the group had gotten off the boat in NSW.
"If they've been in (a declared hotspot) area within the 14 days, they need to complete the 14-day quarantine," she said.
This is not the first time a superyacht has entered into Queensland following border closures.
According to Dr Young, several hotel quarantine exemptions had been provided to vessels.
"We do give exemptions to anyone who's been on any vessel for 14 days and not been into an area of risk," Dr Young said.
"I do know about a number of super yachts that have come into Queensland, because we're quite an important place for repairs, for a lot of those super yachts."
On the day The Lady Pamela left Victorian shores, Melbourne was under stage four lockdown, following 17 deaths and 394 recorded cases.
The backflip followed controversy over another millionaire Melbourne businessman, trucking empire heir Peter Fox, being granted an exemption to live in a Gold Coast beachfront mansion owned by former motorcycle champion Mick Doohan.
One of Mr Fox's children, Hannah, was reportedly on the Lady Pamela with Mr Simonds, his wife Cheryl and their youngest son.
Originally published as Millionaire ordered to quarantine after superyacht voyage