The Whitsundays will be hit by new measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 Picture: Queensland Tourism.
The Whitsundays will be hit by new measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 Picture: Queensland Tourism.

New coronavirus measures will impact Whitsundays

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has today announced new measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and help “flatten the curve”, some of which will directly impact the Whitsundays.

The measures include forcing self-isolation to anyone arriving in Australia from overseas for 14 days and advising Australians to practice more social distancing.

In a blow to the Whitsunday tourism industry, who is already suffering from the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on international tourism, Mr Morrison also said all cruise ships from foreign ports will not be allowed in Australia for 30 days, and “will go forward on a rolling basis”.

Mr Morrison did say in “specific cases” where Australians are on cruise ships, there will be “bespoke arrangements put in place by the Australian Border Force” to ensure relevant protections in place.

The announcement of the cruise ship ban follows a suite of cancellations by major cruise ship operators, with more than 18 cruise ships already cancelled in the last 35 days.

Nine cruise ships were planned to dock in the Whitsundays over the next 30 days.

On Friday, Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said now was the time for the local Whitsunday community to help support the tourism industry “which supports them”.

“Before you consider buying online or going away for your next holiday, consider having a world-class holiday right here in your backyard. We can all play a positive role in keeping our local business doors open & people employed during this time,” Ms Wheeler said.

“We are all going through this unprecedented crisis; we need to stick together, unite, and collaborate to get through this.

“Whether that be a road trip throughout the region (and) exploring somewhere you’ve not been before, or a long-lunch and delicious cocktails in one of our many restaurants.

“Maybe you’ve always wanted a staycation in one of our many incredible accommodation offerings between the islands or mainland. Support local and holiday here this year.”

Mr Morrison also announced a national plan to close all schools due to the coronavirus will not go ahead at this stage.


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