Tale of two cities as restrictions ease across the Gold Coast

Some Gold Coast businesses have seen a spike in demand just 24 hours after the announcement that more restrictions were being eased across the State.

But for others, the rule changes will do little to help them as long as the border remains shut.

From today Queenslanders have been given the green light to travel and stay anywhere in the State.


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Cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs can now have 20 people, and will be able to have 20 customers per section from Friday.

The State Government is urging Queenslanders to start organising their Queensland holiday, with Tourism Minister Kate Jones issuing a special plea for Brisbane residents to come down to the Gold Coast.

“Today I have a very clear message to everyone out there – please come to the Gold Coast,” Ms Jones said.

“For people like me who live Brisbane but spend as much time as we can on the Gold Coast, we are really appealing to those two million Brisbane folk to make sure that you come and spend your money in this local economy.”

Read more: WATCH: Kate Jones urges Queenslanders to visit the Gold Coast

The announcement by the Premier on Sunday has had an immediate result for some accommodation providers.

Accor, one of the biggest hotel operators in Australia, has reported that 60 per cent of its bookings across the country over the weekend were for Queensland hotels, with the Gold Coast one of the most popular choices.

QT Hotel in Surfers Paradise has also seen a flood of calls and bookings since the changes were announced.

“Overnight we’ve seen some really good pick up in terms of our room nights, arguably we’re not too dissimilar from last year so that means the same amount of demand is coming through which is great to see,” QT General Manager Steven Oakley said.

But some accommodation providers, especially on the southern end of the Gold Coast, say the only thing that will help them is reopening the border.

Maree Hene, manager of Ocean Plaza Resort in Coolangatta says the border closure is having a detrimental impact and fears they may never recover.

“At this time of year, 85 per cent of our clients of Ocean Plaza are from the southern states and New Zealand,” Ms Hene said.

“When they cant get to Queensland because of the border closures they’ll be making their holiday destinations Kingscliff and places like that and once we lose those clients we’ll never get them back.

“People like to settle and go to the same places every year so we can really assume that they’re gone.”

Tourism Minister Kate Jones, QT Hotel General Manager Steven Oakley, Hot Shott Cafe co-owner Jenna Finch. Pic: Twitter @ katejonesqld

Jenna Finch co-owner of the popular Hot Shott cafe in Main Beach says the rule changes are very welcome.

The cafe on Tedder Avenue had just completed renovations when coronavirus forced them to shut their dining area and switch to takeaway.

“We’re so excited just to be able to take that next step moving forward getting back to a bit more normality,” Ms Finch said.

“I actually got to call two of my staff that haven’t worked since the 24th of March, I got to call them and say ‘hey I want you to come back to work next week?”

Ms Finch says the shutdown has taken a huge toll both financially and emotionally, but the announcement is a huge relief.

“When everything first started we dropped down to maybe 25 per cent of what we were doing but just in the last week we’ve definitely picked up.

“It’s been rough but we’re just excited to get back to normal.”

But for Noodlebox Cooolangatta franchisee Jim Sandral, the changes don’t go far enough for him.

While he welcomes the increase in diners, the border shutdown is what has hurt them the most.

“The issue we have is our customer base is in Tweed,” Mr Sandral said.

“We’re a very thin strip here, we have a very small amount of population in Coolangatta so most of our customer base is in Tweed, so our community is more New South Wales-based than it is Queensland-based so we have to work together to release those borders.”

 

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