“Mixed reaction” from Gold Coast leaders on border reopening

Gold Coast leaders are glad to finally have a border reopening date but it’s been met with some mixed messages.

The state government finally unveiled their plan to open the borders, from mid-November, provided we hit necessary vaccination targets.

From November 19, once Queensland hits the 70 per cent double dose vaccination mark, fully vaccinated people will be able to fly into the state.


However, they have to have a negative test within 72 hours of arriving, and they have to undergo two weeks of mandatory home quarantine.

A month later on December 17 is when fully vaccinated people will be able to enter the state either by road or air and not have to do home quarantine.

They will still need to test negative beforehand.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, who’s been calling for a date for months, says it’s good to have one, but it’s still so far away.

“It’s a mixed reaction, first up I asked for a date to give us certainty and confidence, and the Premier delivered that so I’m elated.

“However, the date is too far into the future, meaning the 17th of December – my fear is that people won’t book for Christmas.

“The 17th is like… well they would have other choices,” Mr Tate told myGC.

The dates set by the Queensland Premier could still come forward, provided we reach the 70 and 80 per cent targets.

It’s understood that vaccination rates in Brisbane are just about at the 70 per cent mark, but the regions are slowing down the rest of the state.

Mayor Tom Tate is urging Gold Coasters to roll up their sleeves and just get the job done.

“My message to Gold Coasters is this: if you’re going to get vaccinated and get to the 80 per cent so that our border can open – you might as well do it early.

“You’re going to get vaccinated anyway, why leave it to the last minute?

“If we can get to 80 before the 18th of December, it’ll just help our small businesses and our family businesses and you’ll help our community,” Mr Tate said.

Tourism leaders on the Gold Coast are elated with the plan, which is hoped to create a significant tourism boost over the Christmas Holidays.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan expects that it’ll also mean a number of jobs will be on offer ahead of the busy period.

“Operators are now looking at ways they can ramp up, now that they have some clarity.

“They know that there is pent up demand there for Christmas time, and we know that interstate travellers have been holding on to their bookings for Christmas,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

The plan has also been praised on a national level, with the Tourism and Transport Forum’s Margy Osmond telling Nine the government has struck the right balance.

“This is a great outcome, and not the least of which for the Queensland tourism industry which has been feeling so much pain.

“But also for everybody who gets to visit their friends or family in Queensland or New South Wales, whatever the case may be,” Ms Osmond said.

There are a few nerves building in the health sector, with doctors and nurses fearing the system wont be able to cope with an influx in cases.

The modelling predicts we could be seeing up to 1,200 cases a day once the borders do reopen.

Infectious Diseases expert Doctor Paul Griffin has told Nine that there are ways to reduce that.

“Case numbers will go up but I think we need to move beyond measuring case numbers and focus on other key metrics like intensive care utilisation and health care utilisation and those sort of things,” Doctor Griffin said.