A Queensland Health spokesperson has confirmed Queensland Health has strategies and plans in place to ensure we are well prepared for all COVID-19. Photo: contributed
A Queensland Health spokesperson has confirmed Queensland Health has strategies and plans in place to ensure we are well prepared for all COVID-19. Photo: contributed

The Whitsundays’ coronavirus questions answered

BETWEEN self-isolation, limits on gatherings and social distancing, you can’t be blamed for having a few questions on exactly what is and is not allowed in the Whitsundays, especially in the lead-up to the Easter weekend.

The main message to remember, and one that was emphasised again yesterday by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave.

“This Easter weekend will be incredibly important. Stay at home,” Mr Morrison said in a press conference.

“Failure to do so this weekend would completely undo everything we have achieved so far together – and potentially worse.”

Leading into Easter, Whitsunday Police are urging the public to comply with government health directions, in particular social distancing and home confinement.

So with that in mind, we nutted out some of the tough questions about coronavirus restrictions.

Can I head out on the water?

The overarching message from Maritime Safety Queensland is that if you don’t absolutely need to be out on the water, stay home.

According to MSQ, boating and fishing are now only allowed for “essential purposes” including to travel to the shops or work or to provide for families.

Boat ramps will remain open, and you can go out in your boat to travel to and from work or home, for exercise or to fish.

Social distancing rules apply both on the boat ramp and on board.

Can I go camping?

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the closure of all campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state managed recreation and protected areas on March 26.

This includes the Lake Proserpine camping grounds.

Can I have a picnic by the beach?

Again, the message from both State and Federal government is that people should not leave their homes unless they have to.

Reasons for leaving home as listed by the Queensland Government are;

  • Shopping for essentials – food and necessary supplies;
  • Medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements;
  • Exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements;
  • Work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.

Exemptions and some other reasons for leaving home can be found here.

Can I go for a walk with a friend?

While you are allowed to leave the house for exercise, social gatherings outside of home are limited to you and one other person who you do not live with.

So, you can go for a walk with one person who does not reside in the same house as you but social distancing should be observed.

You can also go for a walk with the people who live in your house.

Can I take my dog for a walk?

Yes, as long as you are observing the rules about social gatherings outside of home as stated above.

Can I take my kids to the playground?

No, playgrounds are closed to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Can I travel?

All non-essential domestic travel is banned and the Australian Government Department of Health have urged Australians to stay at home this Easter and not undertake holiday travel.

Queensland border restrictions also tightened last Friday and now only Queensland residents and those considered an “exempt person” can cross the border into the state.

Queensland residents returning from overseas must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Queensland residents returning to the state from any other place in Australia that is not a declared Covid-19 hot spot do not have to self-quarantine.

Exempt persons include;

  • National/state security
  • Essential health services
  • Emergency services
  • Transport of goods or freight by land, sea or air, including food
  • Critical maintenance/repair to critical infrastructure in Queensland
  • Construction, mining/energy/agribusinesses (and see below for specific requirements for FIFO workers in these sectors)
  • Federal, state or local government workers or contractors who are required to enter to Queensland to work

For more information click here.

Can I go for a drive?

The message regarding only leaving the house for essential reasons applies here. If you’re driving for one of these reasons, then yes. If not, you should stay home.

Can I go to my friend’s place for a barbecue?

Only two people who do not typically live at your house are permitted to visit at any one time.

In saying this, the message again is that people should not leave their house unless it is vital that they do so.

If you are visiting a person who lives in another house, social distancing measures should be observed.

What happens if I break the rules?

Queensland police can issue infringement notices of $1334.50 for people and $6672.50 for corporations.