Certainty for Queensland businesses as state eyes 17 December milestone

JOINT STATEMENT

The State Government has released details of the health mandate taking effect from December 17.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it gives business clarity over exactly what is expected and how the mandate will work.

“Queensland is marching toward its 17 December milestone of easing restrictions on some businesses, so it is crucial people know what the rules mean for them,” the Premier said.

From December 17, there will be no capacity restrictions on businesses permitted to only allow fully vaccinated people to attend their premises.

This includes pubs, cafes, restaurants, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, festivals, and Queensland Government-owned galleries, museums, and libraries.

As with all health directions, police will be responsible for enforcement.

There will, however, be restrictions on unvaccinated people but they can still access essential services and activities, such as retail outlets, places of worship and public transport.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said a suite of resources was available to support businesses.

“Venues will be required to take all reasonable steps to comply with the Direction and I am pleased to say the Queensland Government will be there to support them,” she said.

“One of those steps includes prominently displaying signs that make it clear to people if vaccination is required for entry.

“The Government has produced a series of posters that businesses can download for free and display at the entry of and in their premises.

“The Direction also includes a handy guide on measures businesses must meet, depending on the service they offer.”

The Minister said the new rules would be a welcome boost for many businesses over the school holidays and leading into the Christmas season.

“I appreciate the commitment of many businesses that have gone above and beyond to assist Queensland’s response to COVID-19,” she said.

“Their actions have contributed to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community and allowed Queensland to reopen its borders and relax restrictions on businesses.”

Ms D’Ath said targeted restrictions were necessary to mitigate the serious health risk COVID-19 posed to more than five million Queenslanders.

“This Direction strikes the right balance between supporting Queensland businesses and limiting the spread of COVID-19 as Queensland’s borders reopen,” Minister D’Ath said.

“It provides certainty on what is allowed come 17 December, whether or not you are vaccinated.”

Ms D’Ath said it was important to retain restrictions on unvaccinated people.

“COVID-19 will start circulating more broadly in our community once our borders reopen,” she said.

“We know this will become a pandemic of the unvaccinated, which is why restrictions must remain for those who are not fully vaccinated.

“We don’t want to overwhelm our hospital system when outbreaks occur.”

Ms D’Ath said the Government would work with people to inform them about the new rules but added that compliance was not optional.

“We understand there will be circumstances where people may be unaware of their obligations and we will engage with them to help them comply,” she said.

“However, we will not tolerate those who wilfully flout their obligations and put the community at risk of COVID-19.

“Businesses will have the right to deny entry to unvaccinated people and anyone who refuses to comply with an order can be fined up to $1,378.50 and face imprisonment.

Ms D’Ath said it crucial Queenslanders and tourists continued using the Check In Qld app.

“The app has been invaluable in supporting contact tracing efforts and will continue to be so once Queensland’s borders reopen and new business rules begin,” Minister D’Ath said.

“This app allows us to contact trace more efficiently, and we know speed will be incredibly important when COVID-19 is more prevalent.

“It is why it remains a requirement in the new Direction and will remain a key plank in our response to COVID-19.”

Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said December 17 marks a new COVID normal for everyone and that businesses will need help to navigate their way through the Directive.

“We have worked closely with industry bodies, including the CCIQ and the Queensland Hotels Association, to develop a raft of measures to support businesses around the new rules,” Minister Farmer said.

“Resources like fact sheets and signage are available on the Business Queensland website, and TAFE Queensland has developed a free online micro-credential to guide businesses through the changes.

“When you are visiting these places, please respect the staff and the rules that they have in place, because aggressive and abusive behaviour will simply not be tolerated, and penalties will apply for those patrons who do not comply.

“Small businesses have been some of the hardest hit by COVID, and I want to thank them for continuing to work so hard to help keep their communities safe.”

The new signs for businesses to display can be downloaded here.

To view the health direction visit https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/queensland-restrictions-update/public-health-and-social-measures-linked-to-vaccination-status

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