Queensland went head over heels for iso-freedom
WITH no new coronavirus cases and the freedom of relaxed restrictions, yesterday was a cause for celebration in Queensland.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised Queenslanders for a " mighty job" helping to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Just 10 infringement notices were issued in the 24 hours to yesterday morning, to people flouting the rules, while the number of active cases stands at 12.
For Naomi Rasi, the eased restrictions lined up perfectly for her birthday yesterday.
After months in lockdown, the freshly 21-year-old admitted: "I wasn't expecting to see anyone on my birthday."
Instead, she was greeted by the sight of nine of her closest friends, together for the first time in months - donning streamers and smiles for a magnificent picnic under the New Farm park pavilion.
The birthday girl said that it was "a truly special surprise". "I had no idea this was happening," she said.
"There was an original plan ages ago, but that obviously fell through.
"These are my best friends … it was so amazing to have everyone together."
At the nearby playground, swings and sea-saws creaked back into action as families flooded the facility.
Embracing the freedom with his wife Luisa and son Michael, Henry Vecchio said that he was "feeling lucky to be in Australia".
"We split our time between Brisbane and Italy … and we almost left before the lockdown happened," he said.
"My wife's friends in Italy are all watching us with envy … they've been locked in 80sq m apartments … they've got wear face masks.
"We're feeling pretty fortunate to be here."
For Grahame Scott, a schooner off the wood never tasted as good as it did yesterday when his family pulled up chairs at Catchment Brewing Co in West End.
"We've been getting takeaway from our local restaurants for the past few weeks, but being able to sit here is something else," Mr Scott said. "It's the little things that make you feel normal."
Restrictions were relaxed further for outback venues - allowing restaurants, cafes and pubs to seat up to 20 people at a time.
In Roma, Club Hotel owners Felicity and Barry Waldron relished the opportunity to show off a newly renovated bar.
"We undertook a renovation, from the front to the back door when they announced that pubs would close. and we only just got it done in time," Mrs Waldron said.
But the weekend's reopening was more than a fashion show - the 20-person limit allowed a reunion of sorts between the owners and their patrons.
"It's so important for outback Queensland … having somewhere people can find that community feel," Mrs Waldron said.
"Everyone is just over the moon … we've already gone through a couple of kegs."
Police issued just 10 fines to people who were blatantly ignoring rules, with the Premier commending the state on "a mighty job".
But Ms Palaszczuk reminded Queensland that the weekend's freedom came with certain responsibilities. The Premier said that it was no longer acceptable to go to work, out for a meal or to see friends and family unless you're 100 per cent well.
"It is honestly, it's not worth the risk," she said.
"If you are working anywhere in Queensland and you are feeling unwell, please stay at home."
Ms Palaszczuk said it was up to everybody to follow the key public health directive, saying it was "just not acceptable" to take the risk.
"Even if you are thinking about going out and celebrating a birthday, if you are feeling unwell, you should not go, you should stay at home," the Premier told Queenslanders.
"If you're a small business operator and you are unwell, you have to stay at home, and likewise the workers."
Queensland's testing criteria has been expanded so that anyone in the state who has a fever, or acute respiratory symptoms can get tested.
People who are unwell and meet the criteria are asked to visit their doctor immediately and to call ahead to discuss their symptoms before their appointment.
Chief health officer Jeannette Young warned Queenslanders that the eased social-distancing restrictions could allow the virus to spread more easily in the community.
"Which is why we - all 5.1 million Queenslanders - must every morning when they get up think, have they got any symptoms," she said.
"If you do, stay home and go and get tested."
Originally published as Head over heels for iso-freedom