Queenslanders will be able to undertake unlimited travel including overnight stays throughout the entire state from midday tomorrow (June 1) in a major easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the easing of intrastate travel restrictions – by road, rail and air within Queensland – would come well in time for the next school holidays.
She said this would significantly kickstart the state’s tourism industry which had experienced an unprecedented downturn under strict but necessary coronavirus restrictions.
Ms Palaszczuk said state borders would remain closed to interstate visitors.
The Premier said Queenslanders’ outstanding response to the COVID-19 pandemic had enabled the travel restrictions to be lifted ahead of a planned move to stage two of the roadmap to easing Queensland’s restrictions, originally scheduled for June 12.
Under the updated plan, there will also be a further easing of restrictions at pubs, cafes and restaurants.
“The only reason we are able to move forward with our planned stage two ahead of the original June 12 date is because Queenslanders have listened to the advice, acted on that advice and done an outstanding job of helping to smash the COVID-19 curve,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“From the Gold Coast to Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast to Gympie to Maryborough to Bundaberg, from Longreach to Mount Isa, to Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, Queenslanders will now be able to rediscover their state, travelling for as many nights as they like.
“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.”
Ms Palaszczuk stressed the easing of restrictions does not apply to biosecurity or restricted zones for indigenous communities which will remain in place subject to a review in consultation with community members.
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles today also announced pubs, restaurants and cafes would be able to cater for more patrons for both food and beverage service from tomorrow.
“Restaurants, cafes and pubs that continue to operate under a COVID safe checklist will, from tomorrow, be permitted to increase the total number of patrons from 10 to 20,” Mr Miles said.
“And from Friday this week, with a COVID safe industry plan, venues with more space will be able to go further and allow up to 20 people in each separate area, seated for meals or drinks.
“For example, some surf clubs, pubs and RSLs may have four or five defined separate indoor and outdoor areas – they can have 20 people in each of these areas if the areas are big enough.
“However, every venue must continue to adhere to strict social distancing rules including limiting each patron to an area of four square metres and adhere to hygiene protocols.
“I know many Queenslanders will look forward to having a drink out. It will be a different experience – you will need to be seated and be served by a waiter to order your drinks.”
Mr Miles said crowds standing at the bar doesn’t support social distancing.
“While some venues will need time to prepare, the confirmation of these changes will give many the confidence to re-open for dining in or to increase the number of patrons – creating more jobs,” he said.
“I ask that people be patient as businesses get ready for this new stage and understand that staff are doing their best to help you enjoy more activities and keep safe.
“The same restrictions will apply to gyms and other health clubs, parks, museums and art galleries, in churches and places of worship and other public facilities such as libraries.
“In relation to community sporting events where clubs have more than one field, limits of 20 spectators per field will apply.
“The Government will work with bodies still subject to restrictions around preparing COVID Safe Industry Plans.”
- For COVID-19 information and updates visit https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/.