Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann with Deputy Mayor Helen Brieschke.
Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann with Deputy Mayor Helen Brieschke.

‘Cautiously optimistic’ mayor praises community’s resilience

WITH both the weekend past and future bringing relaxations of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, the Somerset region is taking its first steps towards recovery.

Only three cases of COVID-19 were detected in the Somerset region, and all three people have recovered, according to Queensland Health records.

Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the measures had placed a significant impact on the region, as many businesses in major towns relied heavily on travellers.

READ MORE: Mayor hopeful for region’s quick recovery

“Our tourism operators and accommodation providers would be among the hardest hit, as would many of the small business owners that rely on foot traffic from day trippers,” he said.

“Even our cafes are heavily impacted with no travellers coming into our townships and the restrictions of takeaway only service. Pubs have also been dealt a heavy blow during this time.”

He said the relaxation of travel restrictions on the long weekend had attracted plenty of people to the region’s natural features and recreational areas.

“We certainly saw a bit more activity at the weekend, particularly at our dams with people enjoying the water and also at our other recreational areas with many families out enjoying a picnic,” he said.

“It was encouraging to see social distancing observed and a bit more life and enjoyment being spread across the region.”

READ MORE: Region celebrates first sunrise without COVID-19

Cr Lehmann encouraged residents to continue observing social distancing measures, and download the government’s COVIDsafe app, to ensure the positive trend continues.

“We are remaining cautiously optimistic, however we are conscious that a second wave may occur with the easing of restrictions,” he said.

“We are hoping that the community will continue its good hygiene practices and with social distancing maintained, that it will help minimise the spread.”

READ MORE: Busy weekend marks return to normalcy for highway town

He gave his thanks to residents for largely following the rules so far, and said council was working to find ways to stimulate the local economy to hasten the region’s recovery.

“Council has implemented a range of measures already to help ease the strain felt by our residents and we will continue to offer support and relief, where possible,” he said.

“It is certainly challenging times but our community has always shown its resilience in times of adversity and for that, I am extremely proud. We are all in this together.”