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Top tips for Queenslanders to enjoy a safe and healthy school holidays

Friday 12 June 2020

A girl and her two younger brothers sit smiling in the backseat of a car.
Family road trips are back on the agenda for the winter school holidays.

This article was written during the Queensland response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reflects the information available at the date of publication. Please check the Queensland Government COVID-19 webpage for updated information and current health advice regarding COVID-19 in Queensland.

School holidays provide a time for children to take a break from learning, for families to spend time together, and sometimes, travel near and far for holiday breaks.

Even though this lot of winter school holidays might look a little different to other years, there are a lot of things you and your kids can do during the term break.

Missed your holidays at Easter? Now you can plan new ones

During the Easter break, restrictions in Queensland didn’t allow families to head away from home or have loved ones over for visits, let alone friends over to play. These holidays, things will be different. While there are still some restrictions, you are able to leave your house for activities and holidays, and have up to 20 people gather in your home at one time.

These restrictions have been eased because Queenslanders have done so well at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our state. If we all stick to the new restrictions and continue to practise good hygiene, stay at home when we’re sick and follow social distancing guidelines, we’ll be able to do even more next holidays.

Exploring in your own backyard: how to have a fantastic Queensland holiday

These holidays you can travel anywhere within Queensland (except for Biosecurity or Restricted Areas) to stay in accommodation or go camping. Staying within your home state might be a change of plans if you’re used to jetting off overseas, but there is a lot to do in all areas of Queensland.

Think differently for these holidays

Take this opportunity to get to know our amazing state even better. Queensland has everything: there are gorges to walk, islands to explore, rainforests to marvel at, deserts with amazing wildlife, reefs that are home to fantastic fish and marine life, mountains to climb, historical sites to witness and farms to frequent. Visit Queensland.com for inspiration and travel ideas.

Can we go and visit relatives?

Yes, you can visit relatives and friends in Queensland. Up to 20 people, including adults and children, can be in one house at one time, as long as they are able to practise social distancing. Keep this in mind and call ahead to plan your visit safely. You should be careful when visiting grandparents and other elderly relatives, or people with pre-existing health conditions that might put them at higher risk of serious illness if they were to get COVID-19. Pay extra attention to hygiene like handwashing and make sure you and your children maintain social distancing while visiting.

Can my child have friends over? Can they sleepover?

Your child is allowed to have friends over these school holidays and they can have sleepovers. You may have up to 20 people at your house at one time, including children and adults, and need to consider how to make space for everyone to practise social distancing. You should encourage children to practise good hygiene, washing their hands before they prepare food or eat, covering any coughs or sneezes and staying home and away from others if they are sick.

Older children and teenagers who require less supervision should be reminded that it’s their responsibility to keep themselves and their friends safe by practising social distancing and good hygiene when with their friends.

A boy and his father stand in wetlands, pointing at something in the distance.

What will be open these holidays?

With restrictions on numbers (for most, up to 20 people* at a time), this holidays these venues will be open:

  • Public spaces and lagoons
  • Pools and community sports clubs
  • Museums, art galleries and historic sites
  • Parks, playground equipment, skate parks and outdoor gyms
  • Libraries
  • Hiking, camping and other recreational activity areas in national and state parks
  • Caravan parks
  • Dining in at restaurants, cafes, pubs clubs, RSL clubs, hotels and casinos
  • Indoor cinemas
  • Outdoor amusement parks, tourism experiences, zoos and arcades
  • Concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums and stadiums.

Because social distancing measures must be enforced at these venues, it’s wise to call ahead or visit the venue’s website to check whether you need to book in advance.

Will my family/my child need to quarantine when we get home from holidays?

No quarantine period applies if you haven’t left Queensland, unless you come in contact with someone who has the virus.

At this time, it is not recommended to leave Queensland except for essential reasons. If you have left the state and are returning home, you will need to self-quarantine for 14 days if:

  • You have been overseas
  • You have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot, unless you were there for an essential purpose

Queensland residents returning home from interstate who have not been to a hotspot do not need to quarantine. You will still need an entry pass to cross the Queensland Border. You can find out more on the Queensland Government COVID-19 website.

Why we can’t let our guard down when it comes to COVID-19

Queenslanders acted quickly and responsibly when we needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state. Because of this great work, our case numbers are so low that we’re able to ease restrictions and get the state running again.

But we can’t let our guard down when it comes to COVID-19. All it takes is one undetected case to cause an outbreak, and while we want to keep case numbers as low and slow as possible, we know that there’s little chance we’ll get rid of the virus from our state completely.

While restrictions are easing, we need every single Queenslander to be alert to what they can do to help keep the COVID-19 case numbers low. Before, during and after school holidays, you should:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild
  • Stay at home if you’re sick, even if you don’t have COVID-19, so you don’t spread germs
  • Wash your hands properly and often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Try not to touch your face
  • As much as you can, stay at least 1.5 metres away from others—think two big steps.

Staying well while on school holidays

No one wants to return from a holiday with a cold, let alone with COVID-19. Here are some tips to keep your and your kids well while you enjoy some time off.

Keep on handwashing

Kids like to touch things, in fact, a lot of activities for kids encourage them to get hands on. Whether you’re heading to a tourist attraction or hanging at the local playground, make sure you keep your kids’ hands clean (and yours!) by washing them often. It’s especially important to wash hands before making food, eating or after using the toilet. If you aren’t able to get to a bathroom with soap and water, carry a container of alcohol-based hand sanitiser with you instead.

Stay away from sick people

So, you’ve organised a sleepover for your child and they’re really excited, but then you get a phone call from the other parent saying that your guest is coming down with a bug! While it’s disappointing to have to cancel plans, this year we really can’t run the risk of spreading germs by spending time with anyone who is unwell. Whether it’s a school friend, a family member or family friend, if someone you were going to see is sick, you should reschedule or plan to meet up digitally instead.

Avoid large crowds

While Queenslanders will be allowed to head out and enjoy the state these school holidays, restrictions are still in place when it comes to how many people can be in one place. If you get to a venue and it’s so crowded that you know you won’t be able to keep 1.5 metres (think two big steps) from others, you should come back at a quieter time or go somewhere else. Skip the crowds by heading out at non-peak times – getting to a venue just as it opens or later in the afternoon can mean things are a bit quieter. If everyone does their part and behaves sensibly, it will be easier for Queensland businesses to reopen and operate safely.

Staying well while travelling

Some parents might be worried about travelling during the holidays and how they’ll keep their kids safe. As well as the above points, keep these tips in mind for safe, healthy travelling:

  • It can be easy to forget about social distancing when you’re in the middle of a long driving trip – before you all jump out of the car at a service station or playground, remind everyone to keep the 1.5 metres rule in mind.
  • Keep an alcohol-based sanitiser in the car, so you can keep hands clean on the go.
  • If you’re staying in accommodation overnight, keep benches and other surfaces clean like you would at home.
  • Use this trip as an opportunity to teach your kids to always cover coughs and sneezes with an elbow or a clean tissue.
  • If you can, get a flu shot to protect yourself from influenza.
  • While it might be disappointing, you should cancel travel plans if you or anyone in your group is sick.

If you’re still feeling uncomfortable about heading out, especially if you or your child has a medical condition that could put them at risk of serious illness, remember that you don’t need to go far and wide these holidays. It’s up to every family to make the best decision for themselves about what will be enjoyable to do and what is safe for them to do. If it suits your family better, you could enjoy a couple of weeks relaxing at home, spending quality time in each other’s company.

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Last updated: 12 June 2020