Kept in the dark on border as droves of people cross it
QUEENSLANDERS have been left in the dark after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk failed to front up and explain when the state will reopen or if she will back new plans to ease more restrictions, despite up to 650,000 people already crossing the border.
Business and political leaders are demanding she make the tough calls "or step aside for someone who will", because the uncertainty as she forces the state to wait is killing businesses and jobs.
Every other premier and chief minister, excluding Victoria's Daniel Andrews, addressed their voters yesterday, before or after the significant National Cabinet meeting which tackled the Melbourne COVID-19 outbreak.
It comes as new Queensland Police data reveals the porous state of Queensland's borders during the lockdown. Queenslanders have already crossed the borders up to 514,000 times, while there have been 137,000 people from interstate granted exemptions to enter the Sunshine State since March.
The Premier's silence on the border reopening continues just three days out from her self-imposed, end-of-the-month deadline for a decision.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland spokeswoman Amanda Rohan said the lack of clarity was confusing businesses.
"We can't go back to where we were before, with the Premier only giving 24-hours notice," she said. "We were missing opportunities because we we're being given no notice."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday endorsed the Northern Territory's plan to open up its borders excluding anyone who travelled through Melbourne COVID-19 hot spots in the past 28 days - with a penalty of up to three years' jail for those who fail to declare if they had.
He said the states and territories at National Cabinet agreed to continue easing restrictions as planned, despite the Victorian outbreak.
But he was more circumspect around Queensland, saying it was up to Ms Palaszczuk (right) to say what she would do about the previously flagged July 10 date.
National Cabinet also agreed to a further easing of restrictions, allowing a one person per 2 sqm rule for small venues.
The Palaszczuk Government would not say if it would endorse the 2 sqm rule or if it would consider the NT's border plan, but it is understood they're under consideration.
Senior Federal Minister Stuart Robert said it was "utterly outrageous" and that the Premier was "sacrificing Queensland".
"You can't wait for the politically best time to do it," he said.
"She has to be willing to make the hard calls. If she's not up to it, step aside for someone in her party who can."
Mr Morrison endorsed plans for states to reopen, while excluding hotspot areas in Melbourne using the scheme proposed by the NT.
"If you've come from a hotspot, you have to go into quarantine, and that's entirely reasonable … that's how you manage an outbreak," he said.
Meanwhile Queensland Police statistics obtained by The Courier-Mail show 514,400 Queenslanders have made a Border Pass submission since the state closed its boundaries on March 25.
A further 137,789 exemptions were granted to interstate residents to enter Queensland, including 67,600 on compassionate grounds.
The Courier-Mail yesterday applied for a Border Pass on the Queensland Health website and received a printout PDF allowing interstate travel within 30 seconds.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced plans to push ahead with the border reopening before national cabinet, while Tasmanian and South Australian premiers did the same shortly after.
WA has made it clear it will keep its borders closed, while NSW has been opposed to border restrictions.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Mark Ryan yesterday said some had not complied with quarantine orders and warned that police would step up checks from Monday.
"Don't think we're not watching you," Mr Ryan said. "Police are doing checks. The compliance team is making phone calls. We will ensure that random checks are conducted on a risk basis."
WHO CAN DO WHAT, WHEN, WHERE
■ Gatherings of up to 20 people at homes, public spaces and lagoons, non-contact indoor and outdoor community sport, personal training, gyms, health clubs, yoga studios, pools and community sports clubs.
■ Gatherings of up to 20 at museums, art galleries and historic sites, weddings, parks, playground equipment, skate parks and outdoor gyms and libraries.
■ Up to 20 people at hiking, camping and other recreational activities in national and state parks places of worship and religious and civil ceremonies.
■ Funerals (max 100)
■ Recreational travel, camping and accommodation, including caravan parks (anywhere in Queensland)
■ Retail shopping and tourism accommodation allowed.
■ Gathering of up to 20 people at indoor cinemas, open homes and auctions, outdoor amusement parks, tourism experiences, zoos and arcades, concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums and stadiums
■ Beauty therapy, nail salons, tanning, tattoo parlours and spas (with COVID SAFE Checklist).
New South Wales
■ Gatherings of up to 50 people, or one per 4sq m rule at bars, pubs, clubs, casinos, cafes, restaurants, churches and religious gatherings.
■ Up to 20 people, or one per 4sq m, for beauty therapy, nail salons, tanning, tattoo parlours and spas (with COVID SAFE Checklist).
■ Community centres and halls, one per 4sq m
■ Indoor cinemas must remain closed, drive-in cinemas open with no restrictions
■ Aquariums, zoos and reptile parks open with restrictions
■ Galleries, museums open with one per 4sq m
■ Real estate, auctions are open
■ Retail open with one per 4sq m
■ Public gatherings of up to 20.
■ Use of outdoor equipment in public places, with caution.
■ Squash courts, gyms, table tennis centres, health studios, bowling alleys and ice rinks can reopen with restrictions, including any class or organised event can have 20 or less participants and one per 4 sqm rule
■ Funerals, one per 4sq m rule
■ A maximum of 300 people may gather at a venue.
■ Any separate room or area may have a maximum of 75 people (subject to the one per 4 sqm rule)
■ Social distancing of 1.5m applies.
■ Funerals and weddings 75 people max
■ Hospitality (seated at a table) at restaurants, cafes, wineries, pubs, breweries, bars, community, youth and RSL halls
■ Recreational spaces in venues using shared equipment (e.g. billiards, pool, darts) without alcohol and food consumption
■ Beauty, nails, tattoo and massage Cinemas, theatres, galleries and museums
■ Churches, mosques, places of worship and ceremonies
■ Auctions and inspections, local government libraries, pools, gyms, zoos and wildlife parks.
■ Outdoor public assemblies have a 300 max
■ indoor group fitness classes must be one person per 4 sqm for up to 10 people and one person per 7sq m for 11 to 20 people.
■ Public gatherings up to 100 people per single undivided space, up to 300 people per venue over multiple spaces.
■ 100/300 rule applies to all beauty services, galleries, museums, theatres, auditoriums, cinemas and concert venues (patrons must be seated during performances)
■ weddings and funerals up to 100 people.
■ Food businesses and licensed premises, including food courts open, but seated service only.
■ Gyms, health clubs, and indoor sports centres will be able to offer the normal range of activities, including use of all gym equipment
■ Contact sport and training allowed, playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment can be used.
■ 100/300 rule for places of worship and libraries.
■ Public gatherings will be limited to 10 and visitors to a home reduced to 5 visitors.
■ Just 20 people at private worship or small religious ceremonies, auction houses.
■ Max 20 seated patrons per space at restaurants, cafes and pubs. Max group size of 10 people.
■ Max 20 people at bars, clubs per space, max group size of 10.
■ Max 20 people at galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, outdoor amusement parks, zoos and outdoor arcades, indoor cinemas, movie theatres, concert venues, theatres and auditoriums can open with up to 20 seated patrons per space.
■ Operate all licensed gaming activities including a TAB.
■ Resume officiating, participating and supporting team sports.
■ Attend any cinema or theatre, concert hall, music hall, dance hall, nightclub.
■ Operate and access all previously restricted services
ensuring adherence to key principles.
Originally published as Kept in the dark on border as droves of people cross it