Update on COVID-19 for travellers
10 April 2020
The COVID-19 novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans and the World Health Organization has declared that COVID-19 is a pandemic. Health authorities have identified cases of COVID-19 in Australia. For further information, please visit the Australian Government and Queensland Health websites.
*If you are a tourism or events business seeking information, resources and support, please visit this page.
DO NOT TRAVEL: Under the home confinement public health direction all people in Queensland (including temporary residents) must not leave their principal place of residence except for necessary permitted purposes. The permitted purposes do not include leisure travel or recreation.
Information specific to backpackers, working holiday makers and those on a visa
Information on visa extensions, working while on a visa and frequently asked questions can be found on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.
Where can I stay?
In relation to hostels, bed and breakfasts, backpackers and boarding houses, these:
- May continue to operate for permanent and temporary residents traveling for a permitted purpose under the home confinement direction, and workers of the facility, with social distancing observed.
- If you are a backpacker and a temporary resident at a hostel, you are subject to home confinement and should only leave the premises for the permitted purposes.
- Working holiday visa holders must visit www.australia.gov.au and register for self-isolation before travelling to another area of the country so they can show a potential employer they have followed the health rules.
- Limited to 2 people in common areas such as lounge rooms and shared facilities, with no more than one person per 4 square metres.
- Limited to 2 people in outdoor areas, that is part of the facility, or near the facility, with social distancing observed.
If you do not comply with the public health directions, penalties will apply: $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations. It is possible the enforcement officer can issue on the spot tickets of $1,334.50 or $6,672.50 for corporations.
How to apply for visa extension
If you’re in Australia on a visa, you must apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. You may be eligible to be granted a bridging visa that will keep you lawful until a decision is made on your visa application. See what you need to do to stay longer.
Some services relating to the visa application process may be impacted by COVID-19.
Looking for harvest work
If you are already in Queensland, you should secure employment before you move into a new area. If you’re looking for harvest work, it’s really important that you don’t just show up to a farm. A better way is to register your availability at Harvest Trail. You can also phone the National Harvest Labour Information Service on 1800 062 332.
If you are not currently in Queensland, and plan to work here, you will need to secure employment before you cross the border. Before you can enter Queensland, you need to apply for an entry pass. If you do not have an entry pass, you will not be allowed to cross the border into Queensland.
Working holiday visa holders must visit www.australia.gov.au and register for self-isolation before travelling to another area of the country so they can show a potential employer they have followed the health rules.
If you have no other means of getting food or essential items
People who have no other means of support can call the Community Recovery Hotline for assistance. The hotline has been activated by the Queensland Government to assist people who have been advised to self-isolate or quarantine at home by a medical professional, Queensland Health or through government direction and have no other mechanisms for support.
Community Recovery will work with partner organisations to arrange non-contact delivery of essential food and medication to people in quarantine with no other means of support. The Community Recovery Hotline can be contacted on 1800 173 349. More information.
If you need medical advice
Queenslanders who require health advice or information while in quarantine or self-isolation should continue to call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or visit the Queensland Health website. Staff at 13 HEALTH can connect people through to a local public health unit and other health support services.
Translated resources: If you need some translated resources to help you understand your obligations, head to Queensland Health.
Cancelled travel or event?
All Queensland tourism operators and events are subject to possible closures, change in date or cancellation. Please visit the operator or event's official website or contact them directly for the latest information. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website provides advice on consumer rights relating to travel and event cancellations as a result of COVID-19.
Other travel information and resources for all travellers:
Tourism Australia's website has information especially for Australian and international travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian Government has produced a range of resources for travellers and the travel industry, including international travellers and hotel guests.
How long will the travel and other restrictions be in place?
On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, Queensland's Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 19 May 2020 and may be further extended.
Bushfire update - January 2020
Queensland was fortunate to remain largely unaffected by the bushfires and Queensland’s tourism operators and experiences are operating as usual.
Visitors can access bushfire advice being issued by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES): www.qfes.qld.gov.au | Facebook: @QldFireandEmergencyServices | Twitter: @QldFES | Instagram: @qldfire
Safe travel throughout Australia
If you are travelling it is important to be informed and prepared. By monitoring the official sources of advice and information you can make informed decisions should a weather or other event impact your holiday plans.
Residents across Queensland are provided with extensive resources to prepare for natural disasters like cyclones, floods and fires. As a tourist, you may not be familiar with how to prepare and what to do if there is an impending disaster. You can consult the Queensland Government's 'Get Ready' resources to help understand how to prepare. www.getready.qld.gov.au/natural-disasters/
Planning an Outback Queensland getaway? Check your route before you go via the free QLDTraffic app or at qldtraffic.qld.gov.au
Tourism Australia’s website also has information about safe travel in Australia, including any current travel warnings or advice.
What to do when visiting Queensland and a natural disaster strikes
The Queensland Government's Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development has produced this valuable resource to help visitors when affected by a natural disaster:
Useful resources during a crisis:
- Tourism and Events Queensland's travelling safely tips: https://www.queensland.com/en-au/plan-your-trip
- The ABC is the nation's largest national broadcaster: www.abc.net.au/local
- Bureau of Meteorology: www.bom.gov.au
- Queensland Government emergency alerts: www.qld.gov.au/emergency | www.qldalert.com
- Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES): www.qfes.qld.gov.au | Facebook: @QldFireandEmergencyServices | Twitter: @QldFES | Instagram: @qldfire
- Queensland Police Service: www.police.qld.gov.au | Twitter: @QldPolice
- Queensland Government road conditions: www.qldtraffic.qld.gov.au | Twitter (various regional accounts)
- RACQ road conditions: www.racq.com.au | @racqOFFICIAL