State restarts regional travel as coronavirus restrictions eased early

·3-min read

Queensland has brought forward the next stage of easing COVID-19 restrictions by almost two weeks, but will not open borders until at least July.

Residents in Queensland will be able to travel statewide, and pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to seat up to 20 people from midday on Monday.

Gatherings in homes and gyms will also increase to 20 people and up to 20 spectators will be allowed to attend community sporting fields.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaczczuk has brought forward the next stage of easing coronavirus restrictions.
The Queensland premier has brought forward the next stage of easing COVID-19 restrictions. Source: AAP

These restrictions were originally listed to have come into effect on June 12.

However Premier Annastacia Palaczczuk has stood firm and will not reopen the state's borders until at least July, despite just five active COVID-19 cases throughout Queensland.

"Let me make it very clear, the border will remain closed for the month of June,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk wants Queenslanders to travel statewide and support hotels and tourism operators, but will not open the borders until July.

She said they were working with the hospitality industry to further open their businesses by next Friday with 20 people per area, providing it meets the one person per four-square-metre restrictions.

However, all patrons must be seated, staff can only work in one assigned area and only table service will be permitted.

"I know it's been difficult and you've continued your takeaway, but now you can go up to 20," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"If you have a COVID-19 safe plan in place and you have extra capacity as per the four-square-metre rule, you can have 20 people in each section.

"We will definitely review that (opening borders) at the end of June."

The stage has been brought forward after zero new positive tests overnight on Saturday for COVID-19, while just five cases remain active in Queensland.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said the reopening of the state and the allowing of overnight stays would reignite the tourism industry.

People at a cafe in Queensland during the coronavirus pandemic.
Annastacia Palaczczuk is working with the hospitality industry to further open their businesses with 20 people per area. Source: AAP

He said it was "an enormous relief" for the industry which had been at a "complete standstill" and hurt the livelihoods of tens of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of staff.

"The easing of restriction at an accelerated rate faster than the roadmap predicted is... enormously welcome," he told reporters.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said travel restrictions regarding remote and vulnerable indigenous communities remained in place.

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