Carpentaria open for business

Travel to Carpentaria Shire set to reopen without permits

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The Carpentaria Shire is looking to welcome back visitors from the outback in towns like Normanton and Karumba, where businesses are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic tourism downturn.

The Carpentaria Shire is looking to welcome back visitors from the outback in towns like Normanton and Karumba, where businesses are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic tourism downturn.

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Almost two months after Carpentaria went into voluntary lockdown amid coronavirus fears, the shire is planning to welcome back visitors to the region.

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ALMOST two months after Carpentaria went into voluntary lockdown amid coronavirus fears, the shire is planning to welcome back visitors to the region.

The Carpentaria Shire Council closed roads and restricted air travel to the region preventing non-essential travel to the area without a permit at the height of the pandemic on March 30.

Council has now reviewed the situation and will again welcome travellers from midday tomorrow, with no permits required.

It comes as the state government eased restrictions last weekend, with outback residents able to travel 500km from their residence for recreational purposes.

Camping is also back for outback residents, with overnight stays permitted in some campgrounds, caravan parks, motels and other accommodation. Limits on social gatherings remain, with only five people in a residence, or ten people outdoors.

A Carpentaria Shire spokeswoman said council had processed over 1200 applications to visit or leave the shire during the lockdown, which enabled greater tracking of people's movements.

"The implementation of this system, to keep the elderly and vulnerable population within our shire safe, meant council was able to monitor departures and arrivals in the shire to ensure COVID-19 did not reach our small community," the spokeswoman said.

There have been no cases of COVID-19 in the shire and only 12 active cases remain across Queensland, with only one of them - a nurse who tested positive in Rockhampton - outside the south-east corner.

Carpentaria Shire Council CEO Mark Crawley said council feels the shire is now able to lift the permit regulations without hindering the safety of residents.

"The community was very supportive in following the permit process in place and for that we would like to extend our thanks," Mr Crawley said.

"It is time for us to now focus on rebuilding our tourism and as the restrictions continue to ease over the coming months, change our focus to re-building economic stability within our town.

"Our local businesses have taken a hit during this pandemic and it is important we all rally together to rebuild the essential foundations of what makes us a town to visit."

Under stage one of lifting restrictions, up to 20 outback residents are allowed to dine-in at restaurants, cafes and pubs serving meals.

They can travel 500km from home, as long as they remain in regions classed as outback, and are permitted to stay overnight.

Stage two of the restrictions lifting, which is mapped to take place on June 12, will allow greater freedoms.

Outback residents will be able to travel in other areas classed as outback, with no maximum distances imposed.

Up to 50 people will be allowed to dine-in, with social distancing measures to remain.

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