Businesses to stay shut as lockdown lifted

BUSINESSES will remain in virtual lockdown until July, with many planning to shun the state's recovery timeline amid concerns reopening for just a handful of customers will be unviable.

The decision from some of Queensland's largest industries to stay closed comes despite a three-stage easing of restrictions being released to much excitement on Friday.

From May 15, 10 people will be allowed to dine in at restaurants, cafes and pubs, before rising to 20 people on June 12.

On July 10, 100 people will be permitted in most areas as bars and nightclubs reopen.

But as new details about the plan emerge, peak industry associations cautioned that thousands of hospitality staff may not return to work until July.

 

"Most hotels won't be able to open for quite some time because it lacks practicality to even open for 20 people," Queensland Hotels Association chief executive Bernie Hogan said.

"It won't be viable … you'd have almost more staff than patrons."

The QHA is working on a COVID-19-safe plan to present to the State Government that will propose hygiene rules and social distancing designed to get pubs open faster.

"Hotels are uniquely able to do social distancing because they have large footprints," Mr Hogan said.

 

When venues could viably reopen would be up to each one, but Mr Hogan suggested they would need to be at least half full.

From Friday, public lagoons and spaces, including South Bank Parklands, will reopen, creating a challenge for Queensland councils.

This week Brisbane City Council will develop a plan to manage how its facilities will be maintained when large numbers of people return, a spokeswoman said.

Queensland yesterday recorded another day of zero cases.

Health Minister Steven Miles said there were now just 20 active cases across the state, however he added that authorities were not expecting to completely eradicate the virus in Queensland.

The Minister said he was heartened to see there hadn't yet been an increase in cases following the easing of restrictions last weekend, adding: "We will certainly know by next weekend whether last weekend caused a problem."

 

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said it would be difficult for restaurants and other hospitality businesses to open for just 10 customers.

"It just won't be economically viable," she said.

Cr Hill said the Government needed to look at a policy that encouraged people to move to the regions.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland general manager of advocacy and policy Amanda Rohan said some members would struggle to reopen.

"There are still some very stringent restrictions in this plan, which we would question on it being viable for some business to operate in those conditions," she said.

Clubs Queensland Acting CEO Dan Nipperes said there was a small number of clubs which could open viably.

"The details of the three stages are important to our clubs across the state especially given the roles that they play in their communities," he said.

"Our clubs want to open again as soon as possible, in a commercially viable way, but within the bounds of medical advice."

Originally published as Businesses to stay shut as lockdown lifted


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