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Australia Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate calls for city to be excluded from lockdown extension

08:06  02 august  2021
08:06  02 august  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has called for the city to be excluded from the lockdown measures being extended across 11 local government areas in south-east Queensland.

The lockdown has been extended until 4:00pm Sunday, August 8, after 13 new community cases were recorded on Monday.

But Cr Tate says "the clusters only are in Brisbane".

"I would appeal to the state government — look at the data and take the Gold Coast out of lockdown," he said.

"There's no cases here, we're doing our bit and really we want to support each other to go to the restaurants and get the economy and livelihoods going again."

Cr Tate said if local cases did emerge he would understand extending the restrictions, but if it was a "zero score tomorrow, take the Gold Coast out of the cluster".

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Queensland Health has been contacted for comment.

'Out-of-towners' unwelcome

Cr Tate said people in Brisbane should be stopped from travelling to the Gold Coast and that the threat from COVID-19 had been outweighed by the difficulties facing businesses.

"We wouldn't want any out-of-towners," he said.

"I think the [government] grants should still flow to the businesses of the Gold Coast."

But Queensland Police Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said the risk of community transmission on the Gold Coast remained.

"There haven't been any reported cases [on the Gold Coast] for over a week now, so everyone is going, 'Oh it's a Brisbane, Sunshine Coast issue' — but people move around," he said.

"People work at different locations and there's the opportunity for us that we might have a case down here that we just don't know about."

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Cr Tate also called for the federal government to provide wage and tax subsidies for impacted workers and employers, as well as additional marketing measures for tourism, aviation and hospitality, and the deferral of business payments.

'Firm approach'

Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said while police were compassionate, they would be "taking a firm approach" to compliance, with officers attending multiple businesses in Burleigh Heads today.

"The Delta strain is providing a different risk situation for the community and we're taking a slightly stronger approach," he said.

"That includes doing random compliance inspections of businesses, markets, individual premises as well."

Acting Chief Superintendent Wildman said many businesses that had opened in past lockdowns might not be allowed to do so this time.

"If you don't need to be out, be at home," he said.

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'Confusion' and 'good faith'

The Emte Boutique was one of several shops police attended in Burleigh Heads on Monday morning.

"We were told we're not an essential business and we need to shut down," employee Gabrielle Richels said.

"There's just a lot of confusion with the owners on James Street.

"In good faith, our boss wanted her staff to be working, as long as everyone was social distancing and doing the right thing."

Ms Richels said the doors were closed, but she would stay at work to pack online orders.

$260m support package

State Treasurer Cameron Dick said small and medium sized businesses across Queensland could apply for $5,000 grants.

"[The grants] will be eligible for business in Queensland in the lockdown area, but also outside the lockdown area," he said.

"They will be available within a couple of weeks."

Mr Dick said the support grants were aimed at businesses with an annual turnover of more than $75,000, a payroll of up to $10 million, and at those that experienced at least a 30 per cent reduction in turnover during the lockdown period.

Mr Dick said support would also be offered to larger businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

People in lockdown areas may also be eligible for federal COVID-19 Disaster Payments, which include:

  • $750 per week if they have lost 20 or more hours of work
  • $450 per week if they have lost between eight and less than 20 hours of work, or a full day of work

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