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Cooktown and the cape set to reopen

Queenslanders will be allowed to travel to the cape from tomorrow (June 3)

Following the recent announcement of the Queensland border reopening, travel to Cooktown will be also allowed from noon this Friday, July 3. (Tomorrow)

Cooktown Mayor Peter Scott said that access into Cook will be freed up to Queenslanders from this Friday (tomorrow)

“We have been lobbying very hard for this through our chamber of commerce and through various ministers,” he said

Other mayors in remote aboriginal communities will be able to self determine as to whether they reopen to visitors or not

Wayne Butcher the Mayor from Lockhart River has said he is concerned about the openings being moved forward.

“I’ve got second thoughts about opening up the Cape now,” Cr Butcher told the ABC.

“I would’ve preferred if Queensland would’ve delayed opening the border for another couple of weeks … I think the risk is just too high.”

It’s believed the Hopevale and Wajul Wujal councils are welcoming the openings.

The initial opening of parts of the cape and Cooktown will be restricted to Queenslanders only from July 3 and then open to all visitors except Victorians from July 10.

Mr Scott says that the majority of rural communities on the cape are in favour of opening-up.

“We are glad that they are allowing us to open a week early so that we can get a bit of school holidays business up here for our tourism operators,” he said

“Decisions about whether communities can move safely to Stage 3 will be made by the Chief Health Officer based on public health conditions for each community and in consultation with local leaders.”

Mr Scott said restricted access signage would be removed from Cooktown but a vehicle checkpoint would remain in place on the Mulligan Highway.

Queensland Police will be checking drivers’ licences to ensure travellers do not contravene the State Government’s ban on visitors entering from Victoria, following its latest coronavirus outbreak.

Queensland’s Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Mr Craig Crawford said that there had been no cases of COVID-19 in any of the state’s remote Indigenous communities which meant the roadblocks could be removed.

“Some of the communities are very concerned about getting COVID-19 into their area, and we accept that,” he said.

“We’ll working with them and do what we need to do to maintain safety but roadblocks at this stage would not be something that we would be looking at.

“Were we to get a second wave, it may lead to us having to invoke further restrictions further afield, but there is no indication of that.

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