Say goodbye to vaccine lockdowns at Queensland sites

Check-ins and green ticks will soon be a thing of the past in most Queensland settings, with the vaccination mandate set to ease overnight.

The state’s strict Covid restrictions, barring unvaccinated people from entering most hospitality and entertainment venues, will be lifted beginning at 1am April 14, with the “trigger point” Queensland’s high hit rates and surpassing the peak of a second Omicron wave.

Restaurant and Catering Association CEO Wes Lamberttold Australia Today’s Natarsha Belling that the next item on the wish list is the scrapping of close contact isolation rules.

“Up to 20% of staff are affected by close contact and isolation rules on any given day, and this adds to the critical shortage of manpower,” Mr Lambert said.

“Many members and industry players say they are permanently short of 20-40% of a full complement”

“These isolation rules definitely create a lot of burdens for businesses,” he said. “We expected as an industry that once everyone was vaccinated, we would just learn to live with Covid and we wouldn’t have those kinds of restrictions.”

As the struggling sector faces two years of staff shortages and closures, Mr Lambert said we must now scrap isolation rules for close contacts.

“It takes leadership. It takes the prime minister and the first ministers to come together and say listen, these isolation rules don’t work”

– Mr Lambert

The double-dose entry requirement will end for most public places, including pubs, cafes, stadiums, galleries and libraries, but will remain for vulnerable settings, including hospitals, healthcare elderly and disabled people, prisons, schools and childcare centres, with some workers still required to have received two doses of a Covid vaccine.

It comes as health experts warn Covid cases may go unreported in Queensland, with hospitalizations at their highest rate since the second Omicron wave.

Dr Paul Griffin from the University of Queensland warns that the high rate of positive PCR tests is concerning with the likelihood that Queenslanders are unaware of the symptoms.

“It correlates with the fact that there are probably a large number of cases that go undetected,” he said.

The number of patients being treated for Covid in hospitals has steadily climbed over the past week, with 572 admissions on Tuesday, the highest figure during the second Omicron wave.

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