Gold Coast businesses shift on border closure

 

A LEADING business lobby group has urged Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to resist closing the border to stop a COVID invasion from NSW and Victoria.

However, others believe it should be closed if it means they can keep trading.

The comments come as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland would "slam the door shut" on NSW if COVID-19 numbers ballooned.

Gold Coast Central Chamber president Martin Hall said a border closure would hurt the city.

"The chamber believes that closing the borders would be a step backwards," he said.

 

 

Police check cars at the Queensland border with NSW at Stuart Street at Coolangatta. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland
Police check cars at the Queensland border with NSW at Stuart Street at Coolangatta. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland

 

"Queensland needs to keep being the best example of controlling the spread of the virus while protecting the economy. Unfortunately, until a vaccine is found, we need to learn how to live with COVID-19 and maintain our defence strategies so we can keep the borders open.

"Ideally, the checkpoint should be moved to a point where it helps support businesses on both sides of the border."

Hospitality identity Scott Imlach - who owns Hideaway Bar & Kitchen, Bine Bar & Dining, Mr Hizola's, Nightjar and Nightcap - said "some money in the tills is better than nothing".

"I would rather be open and trading and have the borders closed than the other way around," Mr Imlach said.

"Some money in the tills is better than nothing. Having to close down again would be a nightmare and kill half the businesses left standing."

Burleigh restauranter Karla Munoz Labart, from Labart, also supported another border closure, if needed.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Pic Peter Wallis
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"As much as we love having the business open for interstate visitors and we rely on them, the important thing in the long term is to get through this as soon as possible," Ms Labart said.

Gold Coast Canal Cruises owner Mary Jane Michelmore said her business had already been hit by the Victorian outbreak.

"My business relies on locals as much as interstate tourism, and I haven't run a cruise since the 23rd of March," Ms Michelmore said.

"The phones started ringing again for a moment, but they went quiet after Victoria.

"The impact of another border closure is debatable, it is such a strange time. A lot of my clientele comes from the aged care sector and disability groups as well. We are really missing them this year. Until they feel safe with the situation I don't know what will happen."

Pilot Mitch Schiller, from Gold Coast Adventure Flights, said he was also just getting by.

 

 

Police check point at the Queensland border with NSW on Dixon Street at Coolangatta. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland
Police check point at the Queensland border with NSW on Dixon Street at Coolangatta. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland

 

"Tourism is already getting slammmed, but it is just life now," he said. "What are you going to do?

"From a business point of view we would love it to stay open, but from a personal point of view it seems safer to close.

"It is slow anyway, we are down about 70 per cent. We can't afford any less, but on the flip side we can't afford to end up like Victoria either."

Other operators say they don't mind either way as they have been able to pivot well to the local market, with plenty of bookings from Queensland customers.

The Vino Bus owner Natasha Bennet said her wine tour business based on the Gold Coast had recorded a huge influx of Queenslanders keen to holiday locally.

"We are actually pretty lucky, even on a Monday we have two buses out with Queenslanders which is good news," she said.

"I think it is tough, but Queenslanders are getting out there. We have had weekends fully booked by Queenslanders.

"As long as they can continue to do that I don't mind what happens."

 

Originally published as Gold Coast businesses shift on border closure


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