InQueensland

NEWS •⁠ POLITICS •⁠ BUSINESS •⁠ CULTURE

Get InQueensland in your inbox Subscribe

Here's how your life will change (for the better) from midday today

News

From midday, life will get a whole lot easier across Queensland as COVID-19 restrictions ease to allow a range of activities that have been shut down for months.

Print article

It’s a week ahead of schedule and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has “taken her hat off” to Queenslanders for helping suppress the virus.

So congratulations, you can celebrate by throwing a house party for 100 people, going to watch some community sport, and more.

Here are the nuts and bolts.

Will it be like pre-COVID times?

Not quite. But restrictions are easing faster than previously expected.

Private gatherings — including funerals, weddings and house parties — are opening up to a maximum of 100 people.

Weekend and community full-contact sporting competition is back on as long as organisers follow a COVID-safe industry plan.

Outdoor sport can go ahead, but physical distancing for spectators is essential.

Indoor sport is on too but spectators are limited to one person per 4 square metres of space.

More spectators can watch professional sporting events with up to 25,000 spectators or 50 per cent of capacity (whichever is the lesser) allowed at major sporting venues.

Commercial events of up to 500 people can go ahead without permission from the Chief Health Officer, as long as they abide by the rules.

Exemptions for people who have been to Victorian “hotspots” will be very limited, to allow essential activities such as organ donation.

People coming from other parts of Victoria may be granted wider exemption, such as FIFO workers and people in essential jobs.

What about the local pub?

They are opening to more people and you can order a drink from the bar.

Smaller businesses with less than 200 square metres of space can have one person per 2 square metres, up to 20 people at a time.

Larger venues have to abide by the “one person per 4 square metres” rule.

Other places can also open with a COVID-safe plan, including casinos and gaming rooms, nightclubs, food courts and massage businesses.

Theatres and concert venues are opening too, likewise at half capacity or one person per 4 square metres (whichever is the largest number).

When can I travel interstate?

Now. But you won’t be automatically allowed back in.

Health Minister Steven Miles has given Queenslanders until midday today to return home.

“If you arrive after midday … and you’ve been to those hotspots, you will be required, as any traveller will be required, to be in mandatory quarantine and you’ll be required to foot the bill of that quarantine,” Miles said.

The Government estimates the bill will run to about $200 per person per day, so that’s in the order of $2800.

Border restrictions will ease on July 10 — unless you’re from Victoria.

People coming into Queensland, including Queenslanders, will have to fill out a declaration that they have not been to a hotspot – such as those in Melbourne.

If you lie, you will be liable for a fine of $4,000.

If you refuse a COVID-19 test, you’ll get another 10 days tacked on to quarantine, at your own expense.

Why 100 for weddings but 500 at other events?

The discrepancies in the plan have confused a lot of people.

Some in the wedding industry, like Donika Mehmet from Brisbane’s Hillstone events centre in St Lucia, still have some questions about the rules.

“A lot of questions around group photos, dancing, what’s allowed, what’s not allowed and … we don’t know the answers to those questions yet.”

She said they were told they could not have a dancefloor.

“So it’s a bit of a game-changer for us and it’s still quite concerning,” Mehmet said.

Also, under the business and industry provisions, there’s a rule for commercial events that says there can be 500 people at an event. So isn’t a wedding an event?

No. Not for the purposes of COVID-19 protections.

The Government has capped the number of people at funerals and weddings because there’s more hugging and kissing: and therefore more chance of the virus spreading.

What about places of worship?

Religious groups in Queensland have been scrambling to understand what the new freedoms mean for them.

In short, it depends on how big your place of worship is, but people are allowed to sit in family groups and keep social distancing between them and other family groups.

This means more people will be allowed in to worship, but the other measures of inside gathering apply.

The Anglican Church is advising people to check their parish’s website or Facebook page.

Bishop Ken Howell from the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane sent out advice this week, advising worshippers to check with their parish as each church faces different restrictions, depending on its size.

Brisbane’s branch of Hillsong seems to have less faith in easing coronavirus restrictions, as it is keeping its services online for now.

The Islamic Council of Queensland is coordinating with each mosque to make sure they can have more worshippers and still meet the COVID-19 guidelines.

The Haj pilgrimage to Mecca has been cancelled for only about the third time in 1,400 years and mass congregations for the upcoming Eid Ul-Adha festival in Australia have also been cancelled.

What’s next?

That depends on how this latest round of easing pans out.

If the virus numbers stay low and there are no major outbreaks, this could be the new normal.

If there is another outbreak of COVID-19, we may see areas in lockdown, like what has occurred in Victoria this week.

If you want to know more, it might be worth checking out the Queensland Government’s roadmap.

– ABC / George Roberts

More News stories

Loading next article