Authorities easing restrictions in Queensland, Australia, as of Oct. 2. Border restrictions, other measures continue.
Alert Begins 02 Oct 2020 08:51 AM UTC
Alert Expires 02 Nov 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Queensland
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Transport and business disruptions, gathering limits, increased security
The Queensland government has further eased restrictions as part of a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reopening plan. The state is in Stage 4 of the six-stage roadmap. Social gatherings remain limited to 30 or fewer people statewide. However, as of Oct. 2, authorities permit customers at indoor and outdoor establishments to consume beverage and food while standing. Officials have also raised the limit on outdoor events to 1,000 people and will allow one person per two square meters (21.5 square feet) at such venues. Sports stadiums can now seat patrons up to 75 percent capacity.
Most businesses, including bars and nightclubs, are operating with a government-approved COVID Safe plan. Indoor businesses and events must continue to follow the so-called four-square-meter rule limiting capacity to one person per four square meters (43 square feet). Officials require a COVID Safe Event Plan for all events above 500 people. Concert venues and theaters can pursue either a 50 percent capacity or the four-square-meter rule - whichever allows greater numbers - to comply with gathering limits. The two square meter rule is also in place for smaller venues, up to a maximum of 50 people. Officials also encourage residents to wear facemasks when social distancing is impossible; however, there is no active mandate in the state.
The government will continue to designate restricted areas where COVID-19 activity emerges. Officials could limit social gatherings to 10 people, restrict access to medical and aged care centers, and permit only seated food and beverage consumptions, among other measures in restricted areas. Under the roadmap, the government plans to enter Stage 5 from Nov. 1. Officials intend to reopen the border with New South Wales on that date provided there are no unlinked COVID-19 cases in that state. Authorities will also raise gathering limits to 40 people and allow dancing to resume at weddings.
Domestic Border Controls
Queensland has lifted quarantine requirements on visitors from the Byron Shire, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley, and Glen Innes local government areas in New South Wales (NSW) as of Oct. 1. Residents from these locations, as well as most other Australian states, can travel throughout Queensland without quarantine. Australian Capital Territory (ACT) residents cannot travel to Victoria or New South Wales (NSW) for 14 days prior to travel to Queensland and must arrive by air.
The government continues to ban all residents of Victoria and other areas of New South Wales from entering the state. Returning Queensland residents, people moving permanently to the state, or those traveling for essential reasons - such as state or national security personnel, skilled labor in demand, and transport workers - are still allowed to enter from hotspot areas. Travelers from hotspots cannot cross the border using road transport. However, exceptions are in place for cargo and logistics workers, truck drivers, essential functions, and border zone residents. Travelers from hotspots must complete a Queensland Health Declaration Pass before entering the state and agree to receive COVID-19 testing if symptoms develop. Officials have ended in-state quarantine for travelers from hotspots and will turn away travelers without entry permission from affected areas.
Authorities allow people residing in New South Wales to enter Queensland for medical appointments if they present a Queensland Border Declaration Pass (General), which is available online. Travelers must also obtain a written document from the hospital or service confirming the appointment. Officials require outpatients to quarantine at a facility at their own expense if the treatment is for more than one day, while people who receive treatment for a day must leave Queensland immediately after the treatment.
International Quarantine Requirements
All travelers entering Australia must quarantine in government-designated facilities for 14 days in the city of arrival. Queensland charges all arriving travelers, including Australian citizens and permanent residents, for quarantine, payable at the end of their stay. Quarantine fees are AUD 2,800 (USD 2,005) for the first adult, AUD 3,710 (USD 2,658) for two adults, and AUD 4,620 (USD 3,310) for two adults and two children. Authorities require quarantined travelers to take a COVID-19 test before release. Refusal to take tests will result in an additional 10 days in quarantine.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by government health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Plan for transport disruptions and delivery delays in designated hotspot areas. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.