Queensland will open its borders to everybody except Victorians.
State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced Queensland would bring forward the easing of coronavirus restrictions to noon on Friday, July 3.
The state government will also reopen its borders to all states, with the exception of Victoria, from Friday, July 10 provided travellers complete a border declaration stating they have not been to Victoria in the previous 14 days.
Victorians, and anyone who has travelled to Victoria will now have to quarantine for two weeks, at their own expense, if they plan on entering the sunshine state.
“I want to be clear – Queenslanders: do not travel to Victoria,” the Premier said during a press conference in Brisbane this afternoon.
“If there is an outbreak in any state, we reserve the right to review the border again.”
She said a senior health official as well nurses would be sent to Victoria to help with the state’s COVID-19 outbreak.
The Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said the early easing of restrictions in stage 3 would mean Queenslanders would be able to order a beer from the bar at a pub once again.
Further social restrictions will be eased in Queensland with up to 100 people able to enter social gatherings such as cafes, restaurants and clubs where the one-person-per-two-square-metre rule will apply. Casinos will be able to open and families will be able to sit together at churches.
Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland had very serious concerns about the state of Victoria and its levels of community transmission.
“Due to the level of community transmission in Victoria, the border with Victoria will remain closed,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Queensland has very large concerns about the state of Victoria. There have been 250 cases in the past seven days. Yesterday, 75 and, today, 64.
“There is community transmission. There’ve been outbreaks in hotels, schools, healthcare, retail and a distribution centre. So, due to the current community transmission levels, the border with Victoria will remain closed and will be strengthened.
“Tougher measures will apply from this Friday, July 3, at 12pm.
“We just can’t risk removing border restrictions for people coming from areas of Victoria right now.
Stage 3 measures include allowing:
• Private gatherings of up from 20 to 100 people in homes – great for special birthdays and celebrations of milestones;
• Wedding attendance increases from 20 to 100 (and the reception size increases too);
• Contact indoor and outdoor community sport starts with an approved plan;
• More events, with events of more than 10,000 people requiring a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by the Chief Health Officer; and
• Additional venues such as casinos and food courts to reopen.
TOURISM OPERATORS ‘RELIEVED’
Tourism and hospitality authorities were relieved at the Premier’s announcements, specifically about the border opening.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said: “Interstate tourism contributed $9.2 billion to the Queensland economy last year, incomes for 240,000 employees and tens of thousands of businesses in every part of Queensland.
“This announcement will bring back a new ray of hope to all those people and their families.”
He said Government infection control measures had put the industry in a strong position to work towards recovery.
“Queensland has the highest number of COVID-Clean businesses and has successfully implemented the Queensland Tourism and Accommodation Industry COVID Safe Business Plan. We are confident as an industry that operators will provide a safe travel experience,” Mr Gschwind said.
“The tourism industry has now been given the opportunity to tap into the interstate winter season and support Queensland in rebuilding its future.
“With all of Queensland’s destinations accessible again, we hope bookings will stream in, allowing tourism operators to get their businesses going again.”
From noon on Friday, Queensland clubs will be allowed to open all areas of their venues, including gaming, with numbers limited to one person per four square metres for major venues.
For clubs under 200 square metres, capacity is capped at 50 patrons, Club Queensland’s acting CEO Dan Nipperess said.
“It’s a positive step forward and it will allow venues to get closer to commercially viable numbers,” Mr Nipperess said.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO said: “Today is great news for the Whitsundays tourism industry with the reopening of the state borders to all states with the exception of Victoria.
“Our region is the most reliant tourism destination in Queensland, the industry represents one in three jobs and accounts for 40 per cent of all visitation to the $6.3 billion Great Barrier Reef market.
“With perfect warm winter weather, we’re excited to welcome our southern visitors back.
“Fortuitously Tourism Whitsundays recently launched the Escape Winter campaign with incredible deals of up to 50 per cent off accommodation and experiences; there is no better time to book a Whitsundays holiday.”