Queensland has a well-earned reputation for doing things its own way; in its own time. Witness the state’s vaccine hesitancy and strict, almost impenetrable borders. Now, as the stubborn-natured sunshine state finally approaches that all-important 80 per cent vaccination benchmark (tipped for December 17), and releases a comprehensive three-step roadmap towards reintegration into Australian society, it’s adopting some of its most hardline measures yet.
Even while the state celebrates the end of mandatory masks today (November 10), new rules to come in on December 17 – governing entry to some of the state’s most popular public venues – will effectively create a divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated Queenslanders. Off-limits to the unvaccinated will be hospitality venues, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, sporting arenas festivals, weddings, and Queensland Government-owned libraries and other facilities. The uncompromising new measures mean that if you haven’t been double vaxxed by then, you won’t be allowed into pubs, clubs or cafes, even if you have proof of a previous Covid-19 infection.
Meanwhile, because the state’s vaccine roll-out has been the slowest nationally, Queenslanders will also have to wait longer to reclaim many of the freedoms soon to be enjoyed again by most other Australian states. When Queensland’s population reaches 70 per cent double vaccinated, either on or before November 19, a number of restrictions will ease for those travelling from interstate.
Upon 80 per cent vaccination coverage, Queensland’s borders will also finally reopen to all double jabbed local and international travellers, with those not double dosed required to home quarantine for 14 days in a self-contained dwelling. Residents who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to go about their lives much as they did prior to Covid-19 (barring venue capacity quotas). However, Queensland residents and visitors who are unvaccinated, or have only received one dose, will see their freedoms curtailed substantially. The strict non-vaxxed embargo is also likely to impact the thousands of interstate holidaymakers headed to Queensland this Christmas, as international travel remains hesitant.
In a press release personally flagged by the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday, November 9, the Queensland Government stated:
Here’s the list of things you can do if you’re vaccinated, and things you can’t do if you’re unvaccinated:
Fully vaccinated Queenslanders will be rewarded on 17 December or once we reach 80% double dosed ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/6sN91BYM1U
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) November 9, 2021
“This pandemic has been a long, hard road,” the Premier said. “Soon our borders will open and COVID will be in our communities.”
“This is about keeping our freedoms.”
The restriction changes being enforced by December 17, at 80 per cent double vaccinated, include:
Although Queensland Health has been praised for lifting most restrictions and gifting vaccinated Queenslanders with long-awaited new freedoms, many have been critical of the announcements.
Among those most vocal of the measures are Federal Minister and Nationals Party Member Matt Canavan, and Jonathan Sri, a Greens member and Brisbane City Councillor for The Gabba.
Canavan shared on his Twitter account, and in an interview on the Today Show this morning, November 10, that he is concerned about the efficacy of vaccination mandates, and how long this proof of vaccination process will need to continue.
Vaccine mandates don’t work https://t.co/z18bcUFbwi
— Matthew Canavan (@mattjcan) November 9, 2021
Sri believes a law like this sets a worrying precedent for lower socioeconomic families who have been shown to have less access to vaccination information.
As of today, November 10, Queensland has recorded two new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases and another one in hotel quarantine.