The Queensland government has announced sweeping restrictions for unvaccinated residents, barring them from pubs, clubs, nightclubs, music venues, hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, sporting venues, and more.
The new restrictions start from Dec. 17, when the state is due to reopen its borders, or once 80 percent of Queenslanders aged over 16 are fully vaccinated—whichever comes first.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday described the new measures as a “reward” for Australians in her state to return their lives to normal.
“People who are fully vaccinated have absolutely stepped up and done the right thing and you deserve to keep your freedoms,” she told reporters in Brisbane.
The premier said the new rules were both a reward for the fully vaccinated as well as a precaution for when the borders reopen.
“This pandemic has been a long, hard road,” Palaszczuk said.
“Soon our borders will open and COVID will be in our communities.
“This is about keeping our freedoms.”
The New Rules
The new rules mean that from Dec. 17, only people who are fully vaccinated can attend sporting matches or any events at Queensland government stadiums.
That includes for popular events like the Big Bash, T20, One Day Internationals, NRL, AFL, the State of Origin, and for concerts.
Going to hospitality venues like pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants, and cafes will only be open to vaccinated staff and customers.
The same rules apply to entertainment venues featuring live music and karaoke bars, as well as both indoor and outdoor music festivals, and it extends to performers. It also includes cinemas.
Queensland Police will enforce the requirements of the venues.
“Government-owned galleries, museums, and libraries will be for vaccinated only,” a Queensland government release stated.
There will also be no COVID limit on weddings where all attendees are vaccinated.
The new venue restrictions will be enforced by the Queensland police.
Unvaccinated visitors will not be allowed at aged care facilities, hospitals, prisons, and disability services, “in order to protect the most vulnerable,” the release stated.
But this rule will not extend to “end of life, childbirth or emergencies.”
This comes as Queensland is expected to reach the threshold of having 80 percent of its residents with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine sometime this week.
At that point, the state will scrap mask mandates.