Changing rules about face masks are causing confusion and anger among regional communities, prompting the Queensland government to update its messaging to dispel uncertainty.
- The Government moves to clarify advice about when and where to wear masks
- Retailers call for clearer messaging about what’s required from businesses and consumers
- A mass exodus of people from the state’s southeast to regional areas is causing concern
A shopping centre in Bundaberg told visitors and employees it was mandatory to wear a mask this week, after reading outdated directives on the Government’s COVID “roadmap” to recovery website.
A spokesperson for the Deputy Premier, Steven Miles, confirms the information has now been updated in line with current health directives.
Face masks are mandatory in the 11 declared local government areas under lockdown, and “all Queenslanders” must wear a mask at stadiums, airports and on a domestic or international flights departing or arriving in Queensland.
Retailers confused by advice
But the constantly changing and contradictory directions have left business owners guessing about their rights and responsibilities, according to the National Retail Association (NRA).
“There is a lot of inconsistencies coming out in relation to the Queensland government. Certainly at this time, masks are not mandatory throughout the entire state,” NRA chief executive officer Dominique Lamb said.
“They are mandatory in particular locations.
“Retail employers have done everything in their power to support the fight against COVID with masks, sanitisation, social distancing, re-arranging shops to allow for correct entry and exits and enforcing QR code check-ins.
Lockdown escapees to mask up
Anyone who has travelled from the state’s southeast into regional areas since Saturday, July 31 is also required to wear a face mask, but tourism operators say not everyone is following the rules.
Fraser Coast Tourism and Events Chief executive, Martin Simons, said some people visiting the Fraser Coast visitor centre refused to wear masks.
“They said, ‘You’re not wearing a mask, so why should I?’,” Mr Simons said.
He said there was a mass exodus from Brisbane when the lockdown was announced on Saturday, with people looking for places to stay on the Fraser Coast.
“Each time Brisbane’s been locked down we’ve had the same result.
“I’ve heard reports that a three-hour trip took eight hours because the highway was that busy.”