Travelling in Queensland and COVID-19 – what Queenslanders need to know
Thursday 11 June 2020
Queenslanders have understood the seriousness of coronavirus (COVID-19) and followed restrictions and directives so well that we have now started to ease restrictions. Queenslanders can now travel freely (except for designated areas) within the state and stay overnight or longer in accommodation. So, if you’re thinking about going away in the coming months or for school holidays, we’re happy to say that you can!
The information below will help Queenslanders stay healthy while travelling in our great state.
Can I stay overnight with friends or family or in accommodation?
You can stay freely with friends or family, go camping, stay in a caravan park, hotel or an Airbnb within Queensland.
All accommodation providers must follow social distancing guidelines and public health directions. This means that some accommodation providers to have a health management plan in place to reopen. This plan will outline what they’re doing to keep guests and staff safe, including heightened vigilance about the frequency of cleaning the accommodation, particularly high-contact surfaces and communal areas including kitchens and bathrooms.
If you are going camping or away in your caravan, make sure you check what facilities are open ahead of arriving at your destination. Some sites may choose to keep sections of their facilities, such as playground equipment, closed. Camp sites will also have restrictions in place to keep visitors safe including:
- Limiting the number of campsites to assist with social distancing
- Limiting the number of people who are able to access amenities at any one time
- Keeping showers closed.
Under stage 2 restrictions, accommodation providers must screen guests. This means you will be asked a series of questions to understand what locations you have been in the last 14 days and if you have experienced illness of any sort. You will also be asked personal details, such as your home address, to ensure accurate records of guests are kept to assist contact tracing efforts in the instance of a confirmed COVID-19 case at the facility.
If you think someone isn’t following a Public health direction where you are visiting, you should firstly inform management. If you see no change in their action, you can report them to PoliceLink on 131 444 or to their relevant industry regulator.
Travel restrictions to remote communities
The Australian Government has restricted entry to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (designated areas). This is in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect First Nations people, who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
At the moment, non-residents aren’t able to enter designated areas for recreational purposes.
If you live in a designated area and your recreational activity, including fishing, or visiting a relative, takes you out of the boundary of that designated area, you will have to comply with the quarantining requirements on your return, unless you fall into an exempted category.
You are able to enter a designated are if you are an essential worker and meet the entry criteria.
Travelling across borders interstate and returning to Queensland
To protect Queenslanders and limit new cases in Queensland, Queensland’s borders remain closed. If you choose to travel interstate, you are required to follow the border entry process in order to re-enter the state.
Current restrictions mean that you can only enter Queensland if you are a Queensland resident, cross-border resident or an ‘exempt person’ requiring to enter Queensland for an essential reason, such as work, study, childcare or medical. Everyone crossing the border, including children, are required to hold a Queensland Entry Pass.
It is essential that if you have crossed the border, even if you are a Queensland resident, that you self-quarantine for 14 days if you have been:
- overseas in the last 14 days
- in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days.
Don’t forget to get your Queensland Entry Pass before coming back to Queensland if you are visiting family or travelling to another state.
We understand this presents additional challenges for some in an already trying time, but it is critical we do all that is necessary to prevent the virus from spreading.
How to stop yourself catching and spreading germs while travelling
While it is great that Queenslanders are now about to get out and about, we cannot become complacent. Remember to use common sense and good judgement while travelling to keep you, your family and the community safe.
If the space you are in is or becomes overcrowded and you can’t maintain social distancing, move elsewhere or choose to return in an off-peak time. Remember also to make hygiene your number one priority when travelling. This is recommended regardless of whether you are staying in a hotel, in a camping ground, or with friends or family.
We know that COVID-19 spreads when an infected person sneezes or coughs contaminated droplets into the air or onto surfaces that others touch. Developing the habit of not rubbing or touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth with unsanitised hands or fingers will go a long way towards avoiding infection, both from COVID-19 and other germs.
Follow these pointers to keep safe and well while travelling:
- If you feel sick, stay at home. As disappointing as it may be to cancel your plans, or to not visit your friend, if you or they don’t feel well, stay home to prevent spreading germs. This not only protects yourself from other germs, but it also protects those who you may be visiting and others out in the community.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested. If you’ve travelled and you develop symptoms while you are away, you can find the closest testing facility on the Queensland Government website.
- If you can, get the flu shot before you travel. Though this does not protect you from COVID-19, it is the most effective way to prevent influenza, which presents similar symptoms as COVID-19.
- When in public places maintain physical distance from others whenever possible, by keeping two big steps away from others and avoiding hugs, kisses and handshakes. Use common sense and move to a different space if where you are is overcrowded.
- Practise good hand hygiene by washing your hands regularly with soap and water and use an alcohol-based sanitiser. Pack tissues, hand sanitiser and disinfecting wipes with you to use while out and about, so that you can always wash your hands or wipe over shared surfaces before you use them.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Pack tissues to take with you wherever you go.
Looking after your health when travelling
No matter whether you’re planning a staycation or venturing out a little further within our state, staying healthy is vitally important, especially during this time.
Remember to always:
- Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide - sun safety is still important during winter
- Eat a well-balanced and varied diet by following good nutrition principles
- Get creative about the way you stay hydrated
- Plan stretch stops when on a road trip and get some extra steps into your day by making the most of exploring the local areas you visit
- Remember to pack your prescription medicine and make sure you have enough to see you through your trip
- Pack extra soap, wipes and alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
Advice for older Queenslanders
Queensland-based grey nomads can now get out and about in in the state more freely, but as older people are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, should still be careful when travelling.
You should still limit your physical contact with others and maintain good hygiene while travelling. If you are sick, get tested and stay where you are, whether at home or in the location you have travelled to, until you are well again.
If you are a grandparent or elderly person, be careful about allowing visitors into your home, especially if have a pre-existing health condition. If you have visitors, make sure all visitors maintain the correct social distance (remember two big steps apart) and pay attention to good hygiene, like regular handwashing.
Healthy road trip travel
Travelling in the car is a good way to maintain social distance, compared to other types of public transport, if you’re by yourself. It’s a different story if you need to drive other people from outside your household.
When you are driving with others, follow these tips to keep safe:
- Do not drive others if you feel sick and avoid driving anyone who you believe may have been exposed to the virus or is showing COVID-19 symptoms
- Avoid physical contact with others in the car
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow
- Regularly sanitise your car’s surfaces to prevent the spread of germs
- Maintain good hygiene after stopping at the petrol station where you may have handled a fuel pump, tyre inflators and after handling cash or EFTPOS machines.
Travelling on public transport
Translink have introduced measures to help protect customers and staff when travelling on Queensland trains, ferries and buses. This may look like cashless payments, rear door boarding (unless you need assisted boarding) and increased cleaning routines throughout the vehicles and customer touchpoints.
To protect yourself and others, stay home if you are sick, get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms and do not catch public transport. When travelling on public transport, aim to:
- leave a space between you and the person in front as you enter the vehicle
- sit away from other people
- travel outside peak times
- catch an earlier service
- wait for a later service
- use active travel (walking, cycling) for part of your journey when you can.
Travelling on planes
Airports across the state are making sure the they are safe for travellers, but passengers also have a role to play.
- Do not fly if you feel sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild
- Go contactless wherever you can by booking and checking-in online
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow
- Avoid touching your face and wash your hands regularly
- Maintain social distance as much as possible
- Overseas travellers are reminded that all liquids carried onto a plane, including hand sanitiser, need to be in containers sized 100ml or less.