Greater Brisbane has entered a three-day lockdown as new COVID-19 cases are detected, in a major blow for the state’s tourism and events industry.
From 5pm AEST Monday 29 March, people in Greater Brisbane must not leave home unless for four essential reasons and mask wearing is now mandatory for all of Queensland.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind says while he accepts the lockdown, he believes it will have a major impact on the state’s tourism businesses.
“It’s devastating news and a cruel blow to an industry that’s already had a pretty tough year,” he told ABC on Monday morning.
“We were hoping that Easter would bring the relief that we all need and relief to businesses and their staff, and now it seems it was snatched from us just at the last minute…”
Gschwind says the lockdown will be hard on tourism and hospitality industries right across Queensland as Easter travel plans are “thrown into jeopardy”.
“…I fear that consumers’ confidence not just here but across the nation will be shaken by this again and travel plans may be put in doubt for not just Brisbane but for other parts of Queensland and other parts of Australia possibly,” he said.
In what Gschwind says is a “double blow” for tourism, the three-day lockdown came just one day after the end of JobKeeper on Sunday, 28 March.
“We have made the case for a long time that many parts of our industry are still in the same diabolical situation they were six months ago, international borders are still closed, so many businesses in our sector are still in trouble and now we have this double blow here of losing JobKeeper and losing Easter potentially and missing out on that boost we had so desperately hoped for,” he said.
He believes financial support should have been extended for businesses in desperate need to ensure businesses survive, in order to help “shape” the state’s economic recovery
Meanwhile, Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan has urged holidaymakers to hold onto their travel bookings, saying “we need you right now”.
“Hold on, let’s get through the lockdown and then hopefully we can welcome you,” she told ABC News Breakfast.