Queensland will begin welcoming back interstate visitors next month, except those from Victoria.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed on Tuesday that Queensland’s borders would reopen on July 10 as planned, but visitors from Victoria will be locked out.
It follows a concerning spike in coronavirus cases in Melbourne.
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Tougher border measures will also be in place for anyone coming into Queensland from Victoria.
From midday on Friday, travellers coming from Victoria, including Queensland residents will be forced into hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
Everyone coming into Queensland from interstate will have to fill in an online declaration, with fines of up to $4000 for those who falsify their forms.
“We just can’t risk removing border restrictions for people coming from areas of Victoria right no and I hope Queenslanders understand why I am saying that,” the Premier said.
“These decisions have not been taken lightly, they have been given careful consideration from the Chief Health Officer and from Government.
“We believe we have the balance right. We will do everything to preserve Queensland’s good record at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our state. We are in a very good position at the moment, but we know, at any time, anything could change.”
The Premier is also urging all Queenslanders not to travel to Victoria for the time being.
“Stay in Queensland. We know have the crossover of New South Wales and Victoria school holidays. Our concern is people from New South Wales going into Victoria and then choosing to come to Queensland. That is why we now have the border declaration that must be declared.”
The move to reopen Queensland’s borders is being widely welcomed across the State.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington says it’s been a long time coming.
“It ends weeks of uncertainty and indecision from the Queensland Premier,” Ms Frecklington said.
“As I’ve been travelling trhoghout this tstae we know about the terribl eimpact the border closures have had on Queensland families and Queensland businesses, so, like I says I welcome this decision to have the borders open.”
Mayor Tom Tate says the decision to exclude Victoria strikes the right balance.
“It’s been a hard call but everyone’s health is the forefront and our hearts go out to Victorians and I hope they can flatten their curve,” Mayor Tate said.
“But as far as the rest of Australia is concerned, for the good state of Queensland we welcome everyone back.”
Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond says plenty of people around Australia are itching to get back to Queensland.
“People are eager to start travelling and relaxation is their priority, so the beautiful beaches and warm climate of Queensland are very alluring and tourism operators are desperate for their business,” Ms Osmond said.
Accommodation Australia CEO Dean Long says it will provide a welcome boost to those accommodation providers who have been struggling throughout the shutdown.
“This announcement has brought a big smile to the faces of our Queensland hotel, motel and accommodation operators. While leisure travel is just a small part of revenue and on-going government support is critical to help the sector through the ongoing restrictions, this is a very welcome announcement,” Mr Long said.
Stage 3 of Recovery brought forward
The Premier has also announced some restrictions being eased in stage 3 will be brought forward from July 10 to this Friday.
The 100-person limit for venues including bars, restaurants and cafes has been scrapped and replaced with the one-person per four square metre rule for large venues, and one-person per two square metres for smaller venues up to 200 square metres.
Pub patrons will also be able to buy drinks at the bar with the requirement for table service scrapped.
Casinos have been given the green light to reopen, while concert venues will be allowed up to 50 per cent capacity or up to 25,000 spectators, whichever is less.
Concert venues and theatres can reopen with 50 per cent capacity.
Private gatherings including weddings will also be permitted to have up to 100 guests.
Contact community sport will return with no limit on outside spectators.
It comes as Queensland recorded no new COVID-19 cases for the fourth straight day.
There are still just two active cases across the State, including one on the Gold Coast.
The Queensland Government’s move follows a decision by South Australia to keep its border with Victoria shut.
It was due to reopen on July 20, but the South Australian Premier says that’s not possible given the current situation in Victoria.
Read more: SA scraps border reopening with Vic