The Courier-Mail

WAVE OF RELIEF WAVE OUR FEARS

- Business · Queensland · Annastacia Palaszczuk · U.S. Chamber of Commerce · Cameron Dick

QUEENS­LAND has avoided a wide­spread COVID-19 out­break, with Queens­lan­ders now en­cour­aged to em­brace their free­doms by sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­nesses and tourism op­er­a­tors ahead of the long week­end.

The Sun­shine State recorded only one new coro­n­avirus case on Mon­day, from an over­seas ar­rival in ho­tel quar­an­tine, as it was an­nounced that tough re­stric­tions at aged care fa­cil­i­ties would be lifted.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the good re­sults over the week­end meant Queens­land had “avoided the risks of a wide­spread out­break” fol­low­ing the cases that had re­turned from Mel­bourne last month.

It comes as Queens­land con­tin­ues to en­joy some of the most re­laxed re­stric­tions in the coun­try, in­clud­ing gath­er­ings of up to 100 at home and up to 50 per cent ca­pac­ity at sta­di­ums and con­cert venues.

Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said she hoped the news would give Queens­lan­ders added con­fi­dence to get out and sup­port busi­nesses as the south­east ap­proaches the Ekka Peo­ple’s Day long week­end.

“Ev­ery­one needs that help,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Hope­fully that great news to­day will mean that Queens­lan­ders will feel that they can go out and sup­port each other as I know they will.”

The lat­est case was the first one Queens­land had recorded in more than seven days, and comes af­ter more than 150,000 peo­ple turned out for test­ing in the past fort­night.

Chief Health Of­fi­cer Jean­nette Young said Queens­lan­ders had come for­ward in their “droves” for test­ing as she en­cour­aged any­one with any symp­toms – no mat­ter how mild – to get tested.

“That is the way we will pre­vent this spread­ing through our state,” she said.

“If we can get the first case – not the fourth case or the 50th case – if we can get the first case of in­fec­tion and stop those chains of trans­mis­sion, we will be able to man­age it go­ing for­ward.”

Re­stric­tions placed on aged care homes ear­lier this month were also lifted from mid­day yes­ter­day, with fam­i­lies al­lowed to visit their loved ones once again.

Dr Young said some ad­di­tional pro­tec­tions would re­main in place, in­clud­ing in­creased per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment and a re­quire­ment that staff as much as pos­si­ble work at one site.

Trea­surer Cameron Dick said the hard work and dili­gence of Queens­lan­ders meant the state’s econ­omy could re­open faster than other parts of the coun­try.

“But so many work­ers and busi­nesses across the state are still do­ing it tough,” he said.

“That’s why we will con­tinue de­liv­er­ing on Queens­land’s plan for eco­nomic re­cov­ery.”

Mr Dick said given how hard a sec­ond wave of lockdown mea­sures could im­pact Queens­land’s re­cov­ery, it was im­por­tant for Queens­lan­ders to keep up mea­sures like so­cial dis­tanc­ing and good hand hy­giene.

Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try Queens­land’s gen­eral man­ager of ad­vo­cacy and pol­icy, Amanda Ro­han, said when com­par­ing Queens­land to other states, it was in a “good po­si­tion” to be open and op­er­at­ing. “Some sec­tors are back work­ing close to as they were be­fore, with COVIDsafe plans and prac­tices in place,” she said.

“For oth­ers, there are still re­stric­tions in place im­pact­ing their level of trade and pa­tron­age. “While it’s great they are open, they are op­er­at­ing on much thin­ner mar­gins, which will have on­go­ing vi­a­bil­ity im­pacts.”

Ms Ro­han said they would like the 2 sqm ruled to be ap­plied to more busi­nesses, off­set by hy­giene mea­sures.

National Re­tail As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Do­minique Lamb said the gov­ern­ment could boost con­sumer con­fi­dence by in­vest­ing in job cre­at­ing in­fra­struc­ture projects and po­ten­tially in­cen­tivis­ing Queens­lan­ders to hol­i­day at home.

The Restau­rant and Cater­ing As­so­ci­a­tion has also called for the state to pur­sue a sup­pres­sion strat­egy and al­low hos­pi­tal­ity to go back to “busi­ness as usual” to as soon as pos­si­ble.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Wes Lam­bert said Queens­land needed to ac­cept small out­breaks at times and be­gin eas­ing some re­stric­tions.

“Sup­pres­sion means there will be low num­bers of cases,” Mr Lam­bert said.

“Busi­ness needs to be­gin re­turn to nor­mal” He said the most im­por­tant thing to con­trol­ling the virus was a

 ??  ?? Cleve­land Point Light­house Restau­rant waiter Ben­jamin Stone serves Vicky Wil­liams yes­ter­day (main); and ShayLeigh Eyre from Tem­pest Seafood (in­set above).
Main pic­ture: Richard Walker
Cleve­land Point Light­house Restau­rant waiter Ben­jamin Stone serves Vicky Wil­liams yes­ter­day (main); and ShayLeigh Eyre from Tem­pest Seafood (in­set above). Main pic­ture: Richard Walker
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