QUEENSLAND will reopen its borders from midday July 10, but travel from Victoria will remain restricted because of a spike in community transmissions of COVID-19 in that state.
The decision, announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is part of a much anticipated move to Stage 3 restrictions.
Brought forward a week to July 3 will be the easing of restrictions allowing 100 people to attend church, weddings and private gatherings in homes, with strict social distancing of 1.5metres remaining in force.
Contact sports will resume, and the two-metre square rule for businesses will come into effect.
“Casinos will be able to be open and concert venues and theatres will be open 50 per cent or one person per one-square metre rule will apply,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Churches, and I know how important this is, and places of worship, family households will be able to sit together as well. That’s all due to the tremendous work of Queenslanders.”
Ms Palaszczuk said anyone who had travelled from Victoria – including Queenslanders – would be prevented from entering Queensland from this Friday unless they quarantined at a hotel at their own expense for two weeks.
Queensland borders will be open to other states, provided travellers complete a border declaration stating they have not been to Victoria in the last fortnight.
“The risk to Queensland from travellers from New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory will be limited, given the low levels of community transmission in these places,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We committed to open the borders on 10 July. We are doing that – but in a responsible way.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the changes are “about supporting our state’s economic recovery while protecting Queenslanders”.
“We have said all along that we would take sensible, measured steps to easing restrictions for Queenslanders and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” she said.
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said the accelerated relaxation of restrictions in stage 3 would collectively mean a greater return to normality for all Queenslanders.
“For small businesses like restaurants and cafes, for couples getting married, for young people wanting to celebrate their 21st at home, for community sporting teams and their spectators, for sports fans, museum goers and event managers, life has gotten easier,” he said.
As restrictions to curb COVID-19 ease, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge invited parishioners to return to church.
“As the Church we’ve done our bit suspending public worship and closing our churches. It’s been a big decision. It’s been a real deprivation for many,” Archbishop Coleridge said in a video posted on the Archdiocese of Brisbane website.
“Beyond all this, the Church will never be quite the same again. But with an easing of restrictions we are taking steps towards gathering the entire community of faith in the archdiocese.
“Welcome back. Even when our doors were closed, our hearts were still open. The heart of the Church is the heart of Christ, and his heart is never closed it’s always wide open.
“Let’s come together once again rejoicing in the gift of each other and rejoicing in the peace that He provides for His family at the table around which we gather.
“So, come and be with us.”
– Mark Bowling