What you can and can’t do over Easter (mainly can’t)
QUEENSLAND risks undoing weeks of progress in containing the coronavirus if people flout orders to stay at home over Easter.
Social distancing and hygiene measures have begun to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate, with Queensland recording just nine new cases yesterday.
Filling up your car or boat, getting ice or bait, grabbing a coffee or food, using a public barbecue or toilets are all activities that increase the risk of getting COVID-19.
Mater Hospital infectious diseases director Paul Griffin said it was vital to maintain measures that had worked.
"The simple thing is that while it's great we are making some progress to flatten the curve, it can all be undone much more quickly," Associate Professor Griffin said.
"We could be set back basically to where we started if we stop listening now."
Bond University genomics and molecular biology associate expert Lotti Tajouri said that meant not going for a drive or on the water, or visiting grandparents over the long weekend.
"The virus is not going to be taking a rest over Easter," he said.
"It might trigger another peak if people decide to go out on their boat or go to the beach.
"The issue is people want to go back to their old habits, but right now we need to sacrifice for the health of ourselves and others."
Dr Tajouri said an asymptomatic "super spreader" could unknowingly spread the virus to people in public areas, or to older family members if they socialised over the holidays.
Coronavirus germs can stay alive on metal and plastic surfaces for days, meaning a public barbecue or toilet could infect dozens of people if infected.
Those people could then infect their families, causing a new spike in infections.
QUT School of Public Health and Social Work professor Michelle Gatton said going out for a drive or out on a boat might seem safe, but it was the surrounding activities - buying bait, fuel or food, or using public facilities - that increased the risk of exposure.
"It's about the things they have to do to make going out happen," she said.
"Filling your car or boat up, getting ice, getting bait, grabbing a coffee or some food, using a public barbecue or toilets - these all pose risks to getting COVID-19.
"If someone who has coronavirus, even if they don't know it, touches that surface, then you touch it, you could be infected.
"Then you could infect your family and anyone else who touches it over the course of the Easter weekend could do the same.
"We risk undoing all the good work we've done and going back to exponential growth rates of the disease."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that Fraser, Moreton and North Stradbroke islands would all be closed to non-residents, with few exceptions.
"It's a time for families to stay at home and stay safe and healthy," she said.
"The last thing we need is people travelling outside their communities unless it's essential."
What you can and can't do this Easter
Q: Can I go to church on Easter Sunday?
No. Churches will not be allowed to open to the public. But some will be broadcasting services over the internet with Federal Government restrictions allowing them to have singers or assistants as well as a priest or minister.
Q: Can we have a big family Easter lunch?
You cannot have more than two outside visitors come to a house at a time. So you may be able to invite your parents over - but with COVID-19 more serious for older people, Bond University public health expert Dr Lotti Tajouri has urged people to stay home this Easter. "This is not the time to be seeing parents and grandparents. Phone them, use video calls, stay in touch with letters. But now is not the time to be visiting in person and potentially infecting them," he said.
Q: Can I go out over Easter if I maintain social distancing?
A: No. The only reasons you can leave your home is to get food or medicine, exercise, essential work, visit a terminally ill relative or attend a wedding or funeral. Travel for leisure is not a valid reason to leave the house.
Q: Can I go travel to the beach, or take my boat or Jet Ski out?
Not if you don't live at the beach. The Gold Coast has closed its beaches. Beaches on the Sunshine Coast remain open but the Sunshine Coast Regional Council has urged people to stay away and police will be patrolling beaches, parks and other public areas. North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island and Fraser Island have all been closed to non-residents and non-essential travel.
Q: If I live by the beach can I go swimming or surfing?
Yes, but only if the beach is open. Many beaches have been closed and Surf Living Saving Queensland is not patrolling beaches from Sunshine Coast to Mackay.
Q: Can I travel interstate?
No. Queensland's borders remain shut. If you leave Queensland you are unlikely to be allowed back in.
Q: Are police enforcing these rules?
Police are enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, having already issued fines to people who have ignored the bans on mass gatherings. Police can issue individuals with $1334 fines for ignoring the health directions.
Originally published as What you can and can't do over Easter (mainly can't)