Queensland eases border controls and lifts coronavirus restrictions

 Friday, July 3, 2020 


After following months of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Queensland finally lifted border closures and eased various restrictions on July 3. Starting at 12 noon, Queenslanders observed ‘Freedom Friday’ as the Australian State reopened for a while a week before the actual schedule owing to lower number of COVID-19 cases as compared to the peak time. The border will officially reopen for interstate travelers on July 10 and for all Australians, on Sunday, July 12.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also announced that the new set of stage three restrictions would also begin from today. Meanwhile, the border restrictions of the state have also been eased for residents.  The news of reopening arrived as a relief for Queenslanders who have been stuck at Melbourne during the lockdown. Individuals from New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory will also be allowed to enter Queensland from July 10 but will be subjected to completing and signing a border declaration.

However, border restrictions will continue to remain in place for the state of Victoria due the present community transmission levels in the region. Moreover, restrictions have been strengthened further for individuals (including Queensland residents and otherwise). According to the latest rules, any person who has been in any local government area within the State of Victoria within the last 14 days has been advised to not return to Queensland after midday, July 3. Individuals who continue to seek return after the date would be subjected to spend big dollars each day for mandatory quarantine in a hotel for a minimum of 14 days.

In addition to mandatory quarantine, the Queensland Government will implement enhanced border control measures, including border passes and identification. State Disaster Coordinator Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski announced that previous border entry passes into Queensland would be invalid from midday, July 3. Therefore, it would be mandatory for each person travelling to the state to complete the Queensland Border Declaration Pass. People travelling by road will also be required clearly display at least one pass within their vehicle to enable priority passage. Carrying an identification showing residential address would also be mandatory. The Queensland Border Declaration Pass is a print-at-home document and issued following the completion of an online questionnaire.

On the other hand, as a part of the latest ease of restrictions Queenslanders will now be allowed to have up to 100 people at their home for a party. A gathering of 100 people is also allowed for weddings and funerals as well as for community sport, visit to food court or casino. Spas, saunas and clubs will be allowed to remain open if they can adhere to social distancing rules. Capacity for venues such as pubs and restaurants has also been doubled.

Smaller venues can also reopen following the one person per 2 sq. m. rule. Around 25,000 people or half capacity (whichever is less) will also be allowed to visit stadiums. Weekend and community full-contact sporting competition will also be allowed to return as long as organisers follow a COVID-safe industry plan. Outdoor sports are also allowed but physical distancing is essential for spectators. Spectators for indoor sports are limited to one person per 4 square metres of space.

Similarly, commercial events of up to 500 people can be carried out while adhering to rules without permission from the Chief Health Officer. Other places like casinos and gaming rooms, nightclubs, food courts and massage businesses are also slowed to open with a COVID-safe plan. Theatres and concert venues have also been given permission to reopen at half capacity or one person per 4 square metres (whichever is the largest number).

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