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31 May, 2020

Queensland gets set for freedom

By Phil Brandel

Queensland gets set for freedom

From midday tomorrow (June 1), Queenslanders will be able to enjoy unrestricted travel throughout the state including overnight stays.

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 and would significantly kick-start the state’s tourism.

“From the Gold Coast to Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast to Gympie to Maryborough to Bundaberg, from Longreach to Mt Isa, to Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, Queenslanders will now be able to rediscover their state, travelling for as many nights as they like.

It will also be a move welcomed by the airline industry, with intra-state flights set to resume.

“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 said.

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.

The other major change is the number of patrons allowed into venues.

From June 1, 20 people will be allowed to dine-in at restaurants and cafes, to attend gyms, cinemas, libraries, museums, art galleries, and places of worship.

The same rule will apply to bars, but patrons must be seated.

Venues are required to have "COVID-safe" plans in place, and in the majority of cases, these have been submitted by the sector's peak body.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven said “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.

From this Friday, June 5, hospitality venues will also be allowed to have 20 people per "section" of their establishment.

This means at a pub with multiple restaurants and rooms, can have up to 20 people in each room, as long as there are no more than one person per 4 square metres.

"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," Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said.

“In relation to community sporting events where clubs have more than one field, limits of 20 spectators per field will apply.”

In announcing the changes, Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young reminded people all of the same rules around keeping a 1.5-metre personal distance, washing hands regularly, and staying home if you are sick, apply.

Dr Young said venues were also responsible for keeping the contact details of anyone who attended their premises, should it be needed for contact tracing in the event of an outbreak.

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