Travel restrictions in Queensland will be eased in time for the June school break, allowing families to take drive holidays in their regions.
But it could still be another two months before we see the Queensland border reopened.
It comes as the State Government unveils a detailed timetable for the easing of COVID-19 restrictions following a meeting of National Cabinet.
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Stage one of Queensland’s plan will be implemented on May 15, allowing recreational travel up to 150kms.
Hiking and other recreational activities in national and state parks will also be allowed from then.
Stage two will follow on June 12, two weeks before the end of term two, which will allow travel up to 250kms and a reopening of tourism accommodation across the State, including camping grounds and caravan parks.
Outdoor amusement parks, tourism experiences, zoos and arcades will also be able to reopen during stage two, but only with a maximum of 20 people at a time.
That will increase to 100 people during Stage three, which is set down for July 10.
“Having spoken to the tourism sector, we want to get some tourism going in time for the school holidays, I think this is really important and you’ll be able to travel in your region up to 250kms to go to local destinations for a drive holiday,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Friday.
Unlimited travel around the State and interstate travel won’t happen until the final stage, but the Premier is warning that will depend on the coronavirus curve remaining flat both here and in other states.
“In July we are absolutely hoping, fingers crossed, if our numbers remain low, and everything is going well, we will be able to open up travel for right across Queensland and I know that means a lot to people, I know people are missing seeing their family and friends from other regions across Queensland.”
The plans, including the border closures will be reviewed at the end of each month, but it appears unlikely they won’t be reopened until July.
“If the rates of transmission track lower in New South Wales and Victoria, we will look at enabling interstate travelling but a proviso is based on health advice and I will not put Queenslanders or Queensland families at risk and, if there is a risk, the border will remain closed,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It’s going to depend on the level of community transmission that is happening in every state. For example, if there is large amounts of community transmission happening in Sydney, it would be irresponsible of us to have plane loads of tourists coming from Sydney, from a recognised hot spot, coming to the Gold Coast or Cairns.”
International travel is also unlikely to happen before the end of the year but we could be allowed to travel to New Zealand and some Pacific Islands.
National Cabinet will consider cross-Tasman travel during stage three of the recovery in July.