Stay away: Easter lockdown for islands
THE Redland City Council mayor has asked the State Disaster co-ordination Centre to stop all non-essential travel to and from the southern Moreton Bay islands.
Mayor Karen Williams also has asked tourists and those with holiday homes on the islands, including North Stradbroke Island, to stay away during the Easter holidays.
And the operators of Stradbroke Flyer water taxis have declared there will be no non-essential travel to North Stradbroke Island.
Cr Williams said while it was a drastic step, banning all non-essential travel to the Bay islands was necessary to protect the communities from the spread of COVID-19.
"We know that our islands have vulnerable communities, both First Nation and elderly," Cr Williams said.
"Right now, we need to make sure we do everything we can do to protect the most vulnerable in our community.
"While we await a response to our request … I want to send a very strong message to all of our tourists who are contemplating visiting any of our islands here on the Redlands coast.
"As much as we'd love to have you, now is not the time for a holiday."
Cr Williams said the island tourism operators and ferry companies were united with council in the request to stop all non-essential travel.
She said they would be working with holiday makers to reduce the impact as much as possible.
A ban on non-essential travel would still allow island residents to travel to the mainland for essential business such as work, school and medical appointments, the mayor said.
Cr Williams said she would contact global online tourism agencies, such as Airbnb and TripAdvisor, asking them to ask their customers not to visit the island.
"This request also extends to people who may have holiday homes on our islands," Cr Williams said.
"If it's not your permanent place of residence, please reconsider staying home."
The Southern Moreton Bay islands include North Stradbroke, Coochiemudlo, Lamb, Russell, Macleay and Karragarra islands.
North Stradbroke Island, which has 2000 residents, usually receives an influx of 20,000 to 30,000 visitors over the Easter period.
It has one of the oldest populations in Southeast Queensland, with about a quarter of residents over 65, and is believed to be the largest indigenous community in Southeast Queensland.
The Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival, scheduled to run on the island over two days in July, has just been cancelled.
Originally published as Stay away: Easter lockdown for Bay islands