The recently approved Queensland Tourism and Accommodation COVID-safe Industry Business Plan has, not surprisingly, prompted many questions from operators. The Plan does provide greater flexibility but the interpretation of some of the provisions is not always clear for all circumstances.
QTIC has worked with Queensland Health and the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation to clarify potential points of ambiguity within the Plan and some amendments have been made. These changes primarily centre around social distancing and its practical application under the tourism tours approved options. The Queensland Health Directives currently determine social distancing at 1 person per 4 SQMs, however the tourism tour options allow for social distancing of 1.5metres at a minimum between individuals. Tourism operators need to ensure they do not take away an individual’s choice to maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres when determining the number of people that can be accommodated.
Until such time when social distancing guidelines are further relaxed, tourism operators who provide transport/travel as part of the tourism experience, must commit to maintaining the safe (and generally well accepted) 1.5m social distance for staff and customers. This guideline applies to all aspects of the experience. Please ensure that you familiarise yourself with the plan as there have been some subtle changes that reflect the 1.5 metre social distancing requirements.
Given the nature of the industry, the Plan indicates 1.5metres “where practicable” in some parts of the document. This refers to specific situations that may arise, including the assistance of passengers up the stairs into buses, or into/onto boats, assistance with diving equipment, or other assistance in preparing individuals for activities, or for the transfer of individuals in tenders onto primary vessels with a duration of less than 15 minutes. At all other times operators are to provide a minimum of 1.5 metres per person and not take away an individuals’ choice to maintain a social distance of 1.5m.