Gold Coast tourism bosses warn many operators are now on the brink with the latest COVID situation escalating rapidly.
Businesses on the Gold Coast have seen cancellations coming in “thick and fast” with fears this latest outbreak could spell the end for many of them.
Queensland last week locked out all of Greater Sydney on the eve of the crucial school holidays.
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That was followed by New Zealand pausing the travel bubble with all of Australia while South Australia and Western Australia have also announced borders restrictions with Queensland.
Now there are fears south-east Queensland could be plunged into its own lockdown with the Premier warning we are “on the verge”.
Restrictions have already been tightened with venues having to revert back to one person per four square metres and patrons must remain seated.
Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan says they respect the health advice but it will continue to have a major impact on the sector.
“I think the reality is our tourism industry is on the front line, they are the first ones to bear the brunt of this evolving COVID situation and it’s definitely not easy,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“We are all awaiting messages from our Premier and our Prime Minister. We know National Cabinet is meeting so it is a holding pattern and as a result, the cancellations are coming through.”
Ms O’Callaghan is calling for government support for affected businesses if the situation deteriorates further.
“We know there have been business support measures previously but there has to be some line of support to help an industry that has had a roller coaster of an 18 months and will continue to bear the brunt.”
There are also growing concerns about the future of upcoming major events on the Gold Coast, including this weekend’s Gold Coast Marathon.
However, organisers say they had prepared for a scenario like this and the event will go ahead.
“Our existing plans reflect the revised south-east Queensland restrictions announced by the Premier today. Those restrictions only have a minor impact on our event delivery,” Events Management Queensland said in a statement.
“While some border restrictions, unfortunately, do prevent many interstate participants from taking part in the race, we continue to work towards delivering an exceptional running experience for those runners who will be attending this weekend.”
Mayor Tom Tate has urged all Gold Coasters to stick to the health advice and the updated restrictions.
“I have to tell you I hate it but I have to say, together, we have to abide by these rules because we have got to keep our family and friends safe,” the Mayor said.
“So if you’re going outdoors, shopping and the like, have a mask with you, have a spare one if you’re meeting with somebody so together we can get out of this.”