The Government is weighing up options to allow unfettered intrastate travel and increase patron numbers in clubs, pubs and restaurants.
The Government is weighing up options to allow unfettered intrastate travel and increase patron numbers in clubs, pubs and restaurants.

Travel, dining restrictions likely to be eased within days

TRAVEL and dining restrictions are expected to be eased within days as pressure mounts on the Palaszczuk Government to throw a lifeline to the state's stricken tourism and hospitality sectors.

With the number of active COVID-19 cases plummeting to just six, the Government is weighing up options to allow unfettered intrastate travel and increase patron numbers in clubs, pubs and restaurants.

Restrictions were due to be eased on June 12 so people could travel up to 250km from their home and patron limits on venues lifted from 10 to 20.

However, it is understood the Government is considering increasing the travel limit to 500km or removing restrictions so Queenslanders can holiday in their home state during the school holidays.

The Government is also considering allowing venues to increase capacity to 20 people per area as long as patrons remain seated and are served by a specific staff member.

It comes after just four new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Queensland since Stage 1 of the Government's roadmap for easing restriction began on May 15.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk could announce the easing of restrictions as early as today with the end-of-month review of the border closure, which is expected to remain.

Tourism leaders have implored the Palaszczuk Government to ditch the planned 250km limit and allow Queenslanders to travel throughout the state unhindered.

The sector argues the current restrictions are costing the industry $1 billion a month.

Flight Centre boss Graham "Skroo" Turner branded the 250km limit "unfathomable".

"There's just no logic to it," he said. "There's no health reason to stop people from the Gold Coast going to the Whitsundays or the reef - it's really hard to understand the rationale. That (letting people travel 250km) won't help."

Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said the expanded travel zones would provide "little relief".

"Our operators are unable to properly capitalise on the drive market because visitors who would usually spend money in our theme parks, restaurants and cafes, are either unable to do so, or are severely limited due to social distancing restrictions," she said.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said the 250km limit was "unrealistic" for operators.

"We are looking forward to the Premier's review on Sunday … which may open up the opportunity for travel within the state sooner than anticipated," he said.

Originally published as Travel, dining restrictions likely to be eased within days


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