Gold Coast businesses are breathing a slight sigh of relief, with the city’s lockdown set to be lifted at 6pm tonight – right in time for the weekend.
While it’s good news for locals, there’s still a massive hole that’s been left by interstate tourists who were expected to flock to the city for the school holidays.
Tourism operators on the glitter strip were hit hard with cancellations from Sydneysiders last week, and this week’s South East Queensland lockdown only made things worse.
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As a result, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is rallying all Gold Coasters to “get out in droves” and support local this weekend.
“The word is out: our lockdown ends at 6pm today. I urge every Gold Coaster and our much-loved tourists to get out and about, shop, dine and play locally,” the Mayor said.
“We have at least a week left of the school holidays and the weather is about to clear so please support the mum-n-dad businesses right across our city.’”
Mayor Tate said there’s no denying that the lockdowns “devastate the confidence of our businesses and individuals”.
“We are still calculating the economic loss but it will run into the tens of millions of dollars,” he said.
“Worse, it impacts the confidence of domestic travellers who are reluctant to book in case they get stuck here or have to scramble to return home.”
All city services will again be reopening over the next few days, with libraries, community centres and tips swinging open their doors tomorrow morning.
The Broadwater rockpools and bouncing pillow will also be good to go tomorrow, weather dependant, along with all community pools.
While the Naturally GC and Active and Healthy school holiday program will reopen from Monday.
Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan has pleaded for locals to book a staycation.
“The message to anyone on the Gold Coast or in the surrounds that is able to book a holiday, please do so,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“We have so many deals that are out there at the moment, we have capacity.”
“The cancellations are beyond the three days – they have moved into the remainder of the school holidays and it’s having an impact on the coming weeks.”
There’s hope the Brisbane lockdown, which has been extended for another 24 hours, will come to an end tomorrow night.
“Brisbane is a significant market for the Gold Coast… they know the Gold Coast well, they love coming and visiting us, which is why it’s so important that we can hopefully see those restrictions lift in 24 hours.”