Chamber urges caution amid Stage 1 restriction easing
NEXT weekend the state will take its first step towards normality in a post-pandemic reality, but Bundaberg and District Chamber of Commerce president Tim Sayre is concerned about the sustainability of the easing of business-related restrictions under the stage one recovery.
At 11.59pm on Friday gatherings of a maximum of 10 people in a public space will be permitted.
A maximum of 10 people will be allowed to dine in at restaurants, pubs, clubs, RSLs and cafes; however, there will be no bars or gaming available.
Mr Sayre said it could be unsustainable for many businesses to operate under the 10-person maximum.
He said 10 people per hour was unlikely to cover basic expenditures like power, phones and rates.
When considering the complexity of the business supply chain alone, Mr Sayre said it could be four weeks before some businesses could open.
In the lead-up to next weekend, Mr Sayre encouraged all businesses in this situation to make sure they could open without further stress or compromise their operations.
"A second wave of closures could still be on the cards," he said.
While much of the community was itching to return to their social routines, Mr Sayre suggested more short-term pain could ensure businesses operated in the future, when restrictions offered a more sustainable environment.
"It hurts to hear businesses in so much pain," he said.
Mr Sayre said government grants and interest-free loans would help businesses throughout this period.
In the meantime, he urged the community to shop locally when possible and while adhering to health advice.
He said the last thing the region needed was for someone to breach social distancing regulations.
In light of the stage one restriction ease, public health rules remain paramount: physical distancing, good hand and respiratory hygiene, maintaining a space of 4 sqm per person when indoors, and regular environmental cleaning and disinfection are still required.
In addition recreational travel of a radius of up to 150km from your home for day trips will be permitted, while libraries, playground equipment, skate parks and outdoor gyms will reopen.
Public pools and lagoons will reopen with a maximum of 10 people at a time or greater numbers with an approved plan.
Some beauty therapies and nail salons, open homes and auctions will be allowed for up to 10 people at one time.
The number of wedding guests will increase to 10 people and funeral attendance will increased to 20 (30 outdoors).
Stages two and three aim at gradually increasing travel distances and numbers for businesses.
The Premier said all things going well, from June school holidays, Queenslanders would be able to drive and stay at accommodation for the first time since the pandemic hit.
"These are sensible, gradual steps to a safe COVID recovery that reconnects our communities and keeps the economy moving," the Premier said.
"Last weekend we announced the first wave of eased restrictions and Queenslanders did us proud.
"Let's keep it up to move to stages two and three.
"We want to keep taking steps forward, not backwards.
"We don't want to undo all our good work."
Health Minister Steven Miles said the key to the recovery was maintaining social distancing and staying home if you are unwell.
"Queensland can be proud of the way we have managed the spread of COVID-19," the Minister said.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said increases in COVID-19 cases are possible but manageable if Queensland continues its careful approach.
"People have been wonderful," Dr Young said.
"That has got us this far.
"We have to keep vigilant and take each step carefully."