The border restrictions have been stepped up. Police setting up barriers in Miles Street, Coolangatta. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
The border restrictions have been stepped up. Police setting up barriers in Miles Street, Coolangatta. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

‘Devastating’: Border business blow days before Christmas

They have survived two sets of floods, bushfires and a pandemic - now Queensland's border closure is just the latest in a long list of challenges facing North Coast businesses this year.

Tweed mayor Chris Cherry said the return of Queensland's hard border closure and checkpoints just days out from Christmas was "devastating" for the community.

She explained the Queensland Premier's move had thrown the region back into a space of "uncertainty" and businesses had already suffered with numerous cancellations from Queensland.

 

The border restrictions have been stepped up. Police setting up barriers in Miles Street, Coolangatta. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
The border restrictions have been stepped up. Police setting up barriers in Miles Street, Coolangatta. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

 

"There are people who aren't sure and don't want to take the chance that a hotspot could be declared across the Christmas period and they will not make it back without quarantining," she said.

"It is just devastating for our local businesses after they year they have had."

 

Mayor of Tweed Shire Councillor Chris Cherry.
Mayor of Tweed Shire Councillor Chris Cherry.

 

Tweed Tourism Company general manager Brad Nardi said feedback from businesses was anecdotal at this point as most data collecting companies were on Christmas break.

He explained while the "timing was difficult", it wasn't all bad news as cancellations on both side of the border meant many NSW families were looking for last minute booking options to replace Queensland plans.

"But it is extremely complicated and a headache for operators two days out from Christmas that they didn't need," Mr Nardi said.

 

Brad Nardi
Brad Nardi

Tweed MP Geoff Provest claimed the resurgence of Queensland's hard border closure was an 'over-reaction' especially considering the Northern Rivers hadn't had a case since April.

He said unlike the Gold Coast, as of the last check, the area did not have traces of COVID-19 in their sewerage.

 

Tweed MP Geoff Provest addressing the 150 strong crowd at the Master Builders Association Cross Border conference at Tweed's Twin Towns earlier this year. Photo: Jessica Lamb
Tweed MP Geoff Provest addressing the 150 strong crowd at the Master Builders Association Cross Border conference at Tweed's Twin Towns earlier this year. Photo: Jessica Lamb

 

Mr Provest said there was community concerns about visitors from Sydney in the area, particularly with those who were up for the cancelled Ironman and Ironwoman event scheduled for last weekend in Kingscliff.

Mr Provest backed up other North Coast businesses who had put up signs urging people from hot spots not to enter.

<<READ MORE HERE: Sydneysiders asked to stay out of shops due to COVID fears >>

He explained businesses had the right to conditions of entry and was echoed by Mr Nardi in encouraging "everyone to follow the most up to date medical advice".

Mayor Cherry said it was up to every business to make their own decision but encouraged people to "do the right thing" as the community was relying on an honesty system from those from hotpots to self-isolate and get tested.

<<READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the border changes>>

"Everyone has seen how devastating it is for the whole state to go into lockdowns," she said.

Mr Provest said the border closure was also causing inconvenience in delivery businesses.

"I have heard reports about people not getting deliveries or delivery truck drivers not wanting to cross the border, and it is just causing chaos in public transport system - they get caught and run behind schedule," he said.

"I was dealing with a number of grandmothers yesterday who were hopeful of seeing grandkids and that is now not happening."