The hotels, motels, and leisure industry in Australia applaud Queensland. Through significant relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions, Queenslanders would be allowed to conduct unrestricted travel and even overnight stays across the entire state.
A month after Queensland previously eased its COVID-19 regulations, the state will step into its next post-lockdown phase, with stage three going into effect a week earlier than originally planned.
On June 30, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Steven Miles mapped out just what’s on the Queenslanders cards when stage three hits on Friday, July 3 at 12 noon, with a significant amount of changes taking place.
Palaszczuk said the reduction of intrastate travel restrictions – by Queensland road, rail and air – will come just in time for the next school holidays and would substantially kick-start the state tourist economy, which had undergone an alarming decline under stringent but required restrictions on the Coronavirus situation.
“From July 3, more people will be allowed in more places and to attend more events,” Palaszczuk stated.
She said that she was “opening the doors” to travel in Queensland, and urged people to take trips to places they hadn’t before. Palaszczuk also said the announcement has made Queensland’s entire state its very own “travel bubble.”
“This will go a long way toward giving our critical tourism industry a welcome boost after adhering to the necessary restrictions we were forced to impose and I encourage Queenslanders to take advantage of the easing of rules around intrastate travel,” said the Premier.
She also praised the concerted efforts by Queenslanders to rally against COVID-19, and said that this ensures restrictions will ease a week earlier than anticipated.
However, Premier Palaszczuk warned: “We cannot spoil the hard work of Queenslanders and put our plan for economic recovery at risk.” The Queensland border will be open to all Australian states and territories, except for Victoria.
Under the revamped plan, restrictions at pubs, cafes, and restaurants will also be further eased. Health Minister Miles reported that bars, restaurants and cafés will cater for more patrons for both food and drink services. He even said fitness centers could be re-opened as well, and they could raise patronage in each section to up to 20 people, as long as they had filed a “COVID-safe” plan.
Business group The Accommodation Association said that the announcement would bring badly needed respite to many of the hotels , motels, serviced apartments, resorts, caravan parks and hospitality businesses at the center of the tourism industry in Queensland
Dean Long, CEO, Accommodation Australia elaborates: “This announcement has brought a big smile to the faces of our Queensland hotel, motel and accommodation operators. While leisure travel is just a small part of revenue and on-going government support is critical to help the sector through the ongoing restrictions, this is a very welcome announcement.”
“For the many locals who work in the accommodation sector, the prospect of being able to welcome guests once again as restrictions on travel and gatherings ease is great news.”
“The accommodation sector has adjusted quickly from the get-go to implement all the recommended health measures. The systems, cleaning protocols and necessary measures are all in place and we’re ready to open for business.”
The Premier emphasised that the lightening of restrictions will not apply to indigenous communities’ biosecurity or restricted areas that will remain in force subject to approval in deliberation with members of the community.
She also stated that it would also allow groups of up to 20 individuals. That means house parties are back on, tourism venues can boost their capacity, music venues can reopen and you can order a drink at the bar. Nightclubs are back in operation too, and the support of stadiums will also increase again. It also means the work from home setup may soon end.
The government has also indicated that it would revisit the transmission rates of Queensland COVID-19 in order to switch from the one-person-per-four-square-meter regulation to the one-person-per-two-square-meter “when circumstances permit.” There have been no reported cases of coronavirus recorded overnight at the state.
Normal social distancing and hygiene procedures and habits remain in place as always — such as washing your hands, cough and sneeze hygiene, remaining 1.5 meters away from other people, staying at home, and being tested if you’re sick.