Playgrounds, exercise equipment and skate parks across the Sunshine Coast Council area will re-open from this Saturday, 16 May, following the Queensland Government’s plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions, with a maximum of 10 people to use a facility at any one time.
Personal trainers will also be able to hold sessions for up to ten people (including the trainer) on council land, as long as they can demonstrate COVID-safe practices and have an existing permit in place.
While this is an easing of restrictions in line with the decisions of the National Cabinet and the Queensland Government, residents and visitors must continue to comply with social distancing requirements and other national public health directions including regularly washing hands and staying at home if you are unwell.
While council has increased cleaning on many facilities, residents are strongly encouraged to carry hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes to use when touching public surfaces such as playgrounds and exercise equipment.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mark Jamieson said community safety was at the forefront of all decisions about re-opening facilities.
“After careful consideration, council has decided to re-open some facilities to provide more opportunities for our community to enjoy time outside,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This initial easing of restrictions will also help to rebuild local economic activity.
“It is vital however, that our residents adhere to the 10 person maximum outlined by the Queensland Government in all areas.
“That means only 10 people are to be within the footprint of a playground at once, including parents, so please be mindful of other people using our outdoor spaces.
“If you arrive somewhere and you can’t maintain that distance, turn around and go home, or choose another venue.
“Now is not the time to undo all of our good work.
“In the interests of the health and well-being of our residents, public barbecues will remain closed at this time as they can provide an opportunity for people to congregate at unsafe distances, but this will remain under review over the coming weeks.
If an area is busy, people can find an alternative venue by visiting council’s beaches and parks directory at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.
Council is continuing to evaluate the timing and activities required to re-open further facilities and will provide updates as these decisions are made.
“I know there is a lot of interest in when council aquatic centres will re-open following the Premier’s announcement last Friday (8 May).
“Council aquatic centres will remain closed until further notice as in most cases, it is not viable for the operator to re-open them when only 10 people can utilise the facility at any one time.
“While Council recognises that the Queensland Government announced that from 15 May public pools could re-open with certain limitations, the running costs including heating at this time of year means re-opening to a limited number of patrons would not be financially viable.
“Sunshine Coast Council aquatic centre operators are small-to-medium business owners and have been impacted financially as a result of COVID-19. Council is working closely with these operators to facilitate their re-opening when it is viable to do so,” he said.
Some council aquatic centres are also undergoing improvements after council fast-tracked capital works and maintenance programs to help keep money circulating with local businesses and reduce interruptions to patrons.
Libraries still remain closed at this time while council plans for the safe operation of these facilities while the current restrictions on group numbers and social distancing requirements remain in place.
In the meantime, council continues to provide a library click and collect service, extensive e-collections, tech-help and online programming.
Many Sunshine Coast businesses, including cafes and restaurants, will also reopen from Saturday and are permitted to seat 10 people at a time. Businesses should refer to the Queensland Government’s COVID Safe Checklist and other online resources before re-opening.
Council will assist food businesses to meet the new restrictions to help ensure the safety of our community.
“Our officers will work with local businesses so they are aware of the COVID-safe requirements and are mindful that business owners are facing challenging times and changing requirements” Mayor Jamieson said.
Resources to assist businesses with re-opening and managing COVID-safe requirements are available on the Queensland Government website.
Council is committed to supporting Queensland Health as the lead agency responsible for responding to COVID-19.
For the latest information about council facilities and services and business assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.