Visitors welcome as State travel bans ease
BUSINESS, sporting groups and travellers are planning their next steps after the Premier moved forward Stage 2 of the state’s recovery plan.
From 12pm today, June 1, Queenslanders have been allowed to travel across the state travel including overnight stays.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes says the move to speed up the coronavirus recovery timeline has been a huge win for the region.
“Our iconic tourism attractions and businesses, that are built on an influx of people, have been honing their skills over the last three months to attract people in the local community,” he said.
“Now they are ready to go.
“We have terrifically fine and beautiful weather, communities opening and welcoming visitors and now all they need is travellers to come in and spend money.”
Mr Hayes says he welcomes Queenslanders who are eager to get out and support businesses in regional communities.
“People have an overwhelming desire to go camping, travel, see things,” he said.
“The good ol’ travelling Queenslander knows if you don’t spend a few dollars at those pubs, servos and cafes, they won’t be there in the future.
“People might have a real plan for their bucket list to see Queensland and Australia with international travel a way off. There’s certainly no time like the present.”
Gatherings have increased to 20 people at homes, while a range of activities have been reopened, including indoor and outdoor non-contact sport, gyms, pools, sports clubs, libraries and more.
While not all businesses across the region reopened today, they have sped up the planning to do so as soon as possible.
PCYC Emerald and PCYC Blackwater expect to reopen the gyms to the public within the next fortnight.
A PCYC Emerald spokeswoman says she is excited to welcome back members and offer a service to support both mental and physical health through what has been a tough experience for many people.
“During this challenging time of social isolation, the importance of exercise has never been greater,” she said.
“The reopening of gyms is incredibly important to help improve people’s mental and physical health and re-establishing community connections is equally important for people’s wellbeing.
“I am certainly looking forward to welcoming our members back in a COVID safe way, and reconnecting with the local community that I have missed.”
The gyms will reopen by Monday, June 15, with other PCYC activities to recommence “as soon and as safely as possible”.
The gym will operate under strict restrictions that include reduced operating hours, physical distancing requirements and restricted number of members allowed in the gym, managed via an online booking system.
Emerald based children’s boutique, Gruffalo & Co has officially recommended normal trading hours this week in a step forward for the small business.
Staff member Amelia Gordon said she was blown away by the community support since March.
“Its been quite cool to see how much the community loves the store and how much appreciation we have,” she said.
Ms Gordon said the business has been “insanely busy” since restrictions started to ease and wanted to thank all the customers who had supported them by shopping local.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queenslanders’ outstanding response to the COVID-19 pandemic had allowed the restrictions to be lifted ahead of plan, with Stage 2 originally scheduled for June 12.
The Premier 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.
Click here to see exactly what is included in Stage 2.