Millions of residents in Greater Brisbane are breathing a collective sigh of relief as the region’s snap lockdown officially ends.
- The three-day lockdown was lifted as of 6:00pm, prompting venues and gyms to reopen
- Families are now allowed to travel to other regions, but masks are still required
- Those travelling to the gym tonight will also need to take their masks
As of 6:00pm, strict stay-at-home orders which kept millions housebound were lifted, allowing residents to move freely about the community without any travel restrictions.
For the past three days, streets in Brisbane’s CBD were empty and doors of major venues were closed, giving Greater Brisbane residents an eery glimpse into the lives of other states’ lengthy lockdowns.
Health authorities waited for any sign of the highly contagious UK variant of coronavirus in the community, after a hotel quarantine cleaner spent five days out and about while infectious.
Earlier this afternoon, Queensland Health said the partner of the hotel cleaner had also tested positive for COVID-19, but Queensland Health said it would not impact the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Face masks are mandatory until January 22 in Greater Brisbane. Here is a full list of where and when you need to wear one.
And the state emerged from lockdown with no other locally acquired cases, prompting restaurants, pubs, clubs, gyms, libraries and other venues to all reopen to the public provided patrons carry a mask on them at all times.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk looked visibly relieved with the result at this morning’s press conference and thanked the community for an “absolutely truly remarkable” response.
“This is the best news we could have hoped for, absolutely the best news,” she said.
“This has been something unprecedented, a world first and an Australian first.”
Brisbane spent three days in lockdown, with masks required at all times residents were outside their homes.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)
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Families flee to holiday destinations
The Foxover family piled into the car bound for Alexandra Heads on the Sunshine Coast for a break at the beach.
The family of four, who live in the Brisbane suburb of The Gap, had their holiday delayed by the region’s snap lockdown, but were thankful to finally get on the road.
The Foxover family packed their bags and were ready to go by 6:00pm.(ABC News: Jessica Stewart)
“We’ve survived a daughter in year 12 and the joys of 2020 so we’re just looking forward to a couple days of beach and resetting before it all begins again,” Mum Elizabeth Foxover said.
“We were having the holiday to have a bit of togetherness, we’ve already had a bit of togetherness three days of it so we’ll just continue on with that.”
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When Ms Foxover heard confirmation from the Premier that the lockdown was on track to be lifted, she immediately went about packing the car with bags and surfboards for a speedy departure.
“We’ll be in that car [by 6:00pm] and at the accommodation by eight o’clock tonight, so it’s a little treat,” she said.
“Once lockdown was called on Friday, we just assumed the worst-case scenario. So when we heard the news at nine o’clock this morning it was a lovely surprise.”
Ms Foxover’s son Elijah, 15, was worried the lockdown might “ruin his holidays” but was relieved to hear otherwise.
“I’m really scared of if coronavirus comes back and we get stuck down there and I would miss my last week of holidays in Brisbane,” he said.
“That would suck but you’ve just got to cross your fingers that it doesn’t come back.
“I’m prepared for it to come back so I’m not worried, it won’t catch me by surprise if it does return.”
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Gyms reopen for sweat sessions with masks
It won’t be just a towel and water bottle required for a trip to the gym tonight.
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Ella Comisari (left) and Geneva Drake (right) headed straight for a workout at Studio 99 in West End.(Supplied: Tim Douge)
The extended mask mandate means people will need to wear a mask during all indoor sweat sessions for the next 10 days, until January 22.
Owner of Studio 99 Fitness Centre Tim Douge said today’s news that he was allowed to reopen was a huge relief.
“It’s good to know that we can get back to doing some of the things that we like, I think the government’s been pretty considerate of the priorities of the health of the community, as well as small business,” Mr Douge said.
The gym owner said he expected his members to be more than willing to adjust to wearing masks during workouts, but said online sessions were available for those who would prefer to exercise without one.
“It’s a little bit of discomfort that we can get used to pretty quick for the sake of keeping your health and fitness going and that routine that a lot of people enjoy,” he said.
Brisbane Studio 99 Fitness Centre owner Tim Douge says it was a relief to learn the lockdown was being lifted.(ABC News: Jessica Stewart)
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“There’s a lot of research around masks and exercise, and oxygen isn’t a problem with the mask it’s just a little bit uncomfortable.
“Everyone understands there’s a bigger picture, so do the right thing, wear the mask, get your exercise done and feel good.”
Queensland recorded four new coronavirus cases today, all overseas acquired in hotel quarantine.
The state has a total of 26 active cases remaining.
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