Gold Coasters are being urged to make the most of the lifting of the lockdown by going out and supporting their local.
After eight days of being house-bound, residents are today waking to their first full day of freedom following the easing of the city’s stay-at-home order at 4pm yesterday.
While life will return to somewhat normal, tough restrictions like mandatory mask-wearing and home gathering limits of 10 people will remain in place for at least the next two weeks.
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Weddings and funerals will also be capped at 20 people, while hospitality venues will be restricted to one person per four square metres.
Schools will reopen this morning, however, high school students and staff in primary schools will be required to wear masks.
Crowds can now also head to the footy with stadiums capped at a capacity of 50 per cent, but community sport will remain suspended.
In some good news, hospital patients and those in aged care are now also allowed visitors.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has described the ending of the snap lockdown as a “dose of good medicine” for the coast’s economy.
“Out of lockdown and into rebuilding our economy,’” Mayor Tom Tate said.
“I know Gold Coasters will continue to do the right thing when it comes to abiding by the latest restrictions.
“We are truly in this together and the fact we all managed to get out of this lockdown in eight days underscores that our community can rapidly comply with restrictions when called upon.”
The Mayor said his focus now turns to supporting local businesses who have been hit hard by the lockdown, with council this week set to finalise the city’s Small Business Relief package.
“I look forward to council on Tuesday discussing what measures we can introduce to assist our small business economy, however we can,’’ he said.
“The major wages and fiscal support must be from the Federal and State governments but I know all councillors are happy to do what we can to help, as we did in early 2020.”
Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan has also welcomed the ending of the lockdown, but admitted the damage has already been done.
“Our hard-working tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors have endured two successive lockdowns within the past month and now we must turn our attention to further supporting our community to help them bounce back,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“We didn’t see a bounce back after the earlier lockdown and the school holiday traffic never eventuated, so we know this time round will be even more difficult.
Ms O’Callaghan is now pleading for help from both levels of Government to keep businesses afloat.
“Our key domestic markets in Melbourne and Sydney are still going through lockdowns and therefore State and Federal Government support measures for Gold Coast tourism operators is critical right now.
“Tourism relies on the movement of people and if half the Australian population is in lockdown then we need to find a way to partner with Government to ensure critical support reaches Gold Coast’s 4,600 tourism businesses and the 35,000 people that rely on this industry for their livelihoods.”
Ms O’Callaghan said it has never been more important for Gold Coasters to support their local.
“During this time, it will be very important for locals to back businesses that have been significantly impacted,” she said.
Despite the lockdown lifting, Gold Coasters are being warned we are not out of the woods yet, with a mystery case here still under investigation.
A person came forward for testing and initially tested positive, but two subsequent tests came back negative with officials now waiting on more testing and genome sequencing.
“The fight is not over and I strongly encourage every Gold Coaster, and every Australian, to get vaccinated,” Mayor Tate said.
“That is the true pathway out of this pandemic.’’
The Mayor said he was not too concerned about the possible isolated case on the coast.
“Normal contact tracing is being conducted around this case and I believe the test on the individual showed a low level of Covid,” he said.
“Like all cases in Brisbane or elsewhere, this should be able to be managed through the processes the State has in place.”