Townsville Bulletin

Businesses scramble to remain open

- TONY RAGGATT

BUSINESSES and their staff in Townsville who have had contact with the general aviation worker infected with Covid-19 have been scrambling to meet Queensland Health requiremen­ts.

Some businesses have closed, at least in the short term while checks are being made on how many people were in the premises at the time.

Others have scrambled to get in touch with staff who were in premises at the time and made changes to rosters to cover for those who have had to go into quarantine.

Queensland Health has listed 27 Townsville exposure times and sites from September 23 to 29 between the airport and the city, with some sites visited multiple times.

They include businesses on The Strand, such as the C Bar and popular food venues like McDonald’s and The Taphouse and Courtyard bars in City Lane in the CBD.

C o u r t y a r d owner Jamie Fitzpatric­k said they were working with Queensland Health and assessing their ability to keep trading.

“It’s a challenge at the moment with staffing and resources and we are working through it all. We are working on whether we can or can’t stay open,” Mr Fitzpatric­k said.

Business owner Lucy Downes of Gecko Interiors said she was called by the public health unit just after she had opened her Flinders St shop on Thursday.

“I knew (Covid) was coming to Townsville, it was inevitable. But it was quite a shock when you are the one who has been in close contact with a Covid-positive person and your business shuts immediatel­y. It’s been a struggle as it is,” Ms Downes said.

She said the man had done the right thing by checking in on the government’s check-in app when he entered the shop.

“He bought one little product, paid in cash and didn’t wait for the receipt,” she said.

Ms Downes said sales data had been

checked at the time the man was served, indicating few sales at the time. Queensland Health have given her the goahead for the business to trade from Friday, although Ms Downes will have to quarantine at home for two weeks from the time of the contact – just after 2pm on September 27.

The irony for Ms Downes is that she did not attend the double-header Test Rugby Championsh­ip last Saturday, partly to avoid any brush with Covid-19.

“But Delta came to me,” Ms Downes said, who had waited about two hours and 30 minutes in her car in a queue, when the Bulletin spoke to her, before getting tested for Covid-19 at the former football stadium at the Willows.

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