Queensland Has Released a New Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions for the Rest of 2020
You'll be able to stand up at the pub, dance at a wedding and gathering numbers are set to increase again — and the state has announced when it'll reopen to NSW, too.
Before 2020 comes to an end, Queenslanders will be able to gather in bigger numbers, outdoor events will be permitted to expand their capacity and New South Wales residents will be welcomed back into the Sunshine State. They're all on the agenda as part of Queensland's new 'COVID Safe Future' roadmap, which was revealed today, Friday, October 2, by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
While the state has unveiled similar plans before, we all know that nothing in 2020 remains certain for long — and that the situation regarding COVID-19 is constantly changing. So, this new outline responds to the current circumstances, and is designed to make clear how the state will be changing between now and the end of the year, in an effort to provide more certainty to both businesses and the community.
Already, as at 1am on Thursday, October 1, the first step of the new plan has come into effect — with northern NSW residents allowed into Queensland without quarantining as part of an expanded border zone, and density restrictions easing for outdoor venues, events and stadiums. There's one more newly annonced element to this phase, however, and it'll kick off at 4pm today, Friday, October 2, with Queenslanders once again allowed to eat and drink while standing at indoor and outdoor venues with a COVID-Safe plan or checklist in place.
Next, when 1am on Sunday, November 1 rolls around, a new step will start — and it'll be of great interest to anyone eager to head further into NSW, or for NSW residents keen to come north to soak up the sunshine. At that point, no one from NSW will need to enter mandatory quarantine when they come to Queensland. Relaxing that rule is contingent on the southern state having community transmission under control but, just this week, NSW reported a seven-day stretch without any new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, so fingers crossed that continues.
Also on November 1, Queenslanders will be able to gather in groups of 40 at home and in public spaces, which is an increase from the current limit of 30. Plus, up to 40 people at weddings will be able to dance, as long as there's a COVID-Safe plan in place.
Finally, from 1am on Tuesday, December 1, gatherings at home and in public spaces will increase to 50 people, just in time for Christmas. Outdoor events with COVID-Safe checklists will be able to host 1500 attendees, up from 1000, while weddings will no longer resemble Footloose in any shape or form (unless, for some reason, Kevin Bacon is invited) — because unlimited dancing will be permitted.
For now, Queensland will remain closed to Victoria throughout this whole period, but the roadmap notes that the state will reassess the situation when community transmission is under control.
And, while the present announcement is all about opening back up again, it does specify that limits may come back into place if there's community transmission in Queensland. It's likely this'll happen in impacted areas only, and could include capping gatherings at ten people again, requiring the wearing of masks, increased testing, only allowing seating rather than standing in venues and scrapping dancing at weddings once more.
Announcing the changes, Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young advised that it's thanks to the state's compliance with restrictions thus far that Queensland can reopen further. "The hard work of Queenslanders has helped us to the strong position our state is in today — it has been a fantastic result," Dr Young noted. That said, she also stressed the need to remain cautious regarding hygiene and social distancing. "So that we can keep easing restrictions, it is vital that we maintain physical distance, wear a face mask in public when physical distancing is not possible and wash your hands."
Top image: Atlanta Bell.
Published on October 02, 2020 by Sarah Ward