News Coronavirus pandemic forces families to rethink school holiday travel plans

Coronavirus pandemic forces families to rethink school holiday travel plans

Three children running out from school across playground laughing
As school holidays approach, the nation is nervously watching Victoria. Photo: Getty
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As concerns grow over the potential for a second wave of COVID-19 Australian families are being urged to spend the coming holidays at home.

On Friday a number of states announced they are reconsidering their plans to reopen their borders before the holiday season because of Victoria’s growing case numbers.

Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia flagged they are watching the situation in Victoria closely.

Currently, only New South Wales and Victoria have their borders open.

“We are very hopeful that Victoria will get on top of the current number of new cases,” SA Premier Steven Marshall said.

“But we won’t be opening our borders if it’s not safe to do so,” he said.

We have worked so hard, we do not want to be going backwards.”

The caution comes just days after Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth urged people to stay at home.

“I think obviously people can still travel if you’re not in an infected area, but enjoy your school holidays in a different way,” Dr Coatsworth urged on Today.

“We have been saying that 2020 is different. If you are travelling, if are interacting with families you haven’t seen for a while, try and avoid that temptation to hug, to kiss, to shake hands. We need to maintain that social distance.

“It is not normal human behaviour to try and avoid that sort of thing, it is difficult, but we need to do it to try and avoid the spread and keep the great hygiene behaviours we’ve been doing so well.”

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said the borders of the island state would remain shut until at least July 25, and would not reopen them until it was safe to do so.

But just as there isn’t a blanket spread of coronavirus, there aren’t blanket rules around travel.

Kids in Queensland are welcome to kick back and enjoy the theme parks, which are reopening just in time for the sunshines state’s school holidays.

The parks, which will open at 50 per cent capacity, are ready to welcome Queenslanders through their gates.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos speak to the media during a press conference at Treasury Theatre in Melbourne, Saturday, June 20, 2020
Victoria has reimposed restrictions as fears grow of a second wave. Photo: AAP 

At the other end of the mainland, Victoria is sending a fleet of 1300 health officials door-to-door in problem areas as the state’s chief medical officer Brett Sutton urged families to reconsider travel.

“Obviously it can be a significant financial commitment if they’ve made those decisions, but if they are going to a setting where it will just be that family and they do things sensibly in terms of where they get out and about, then I think that’s reasonable,” Professor Sutton said.

But if they had planned to meet with three other families interstate, I think they need to reconsider.”

Those living within a hotspot are being asked to bunker down, and stay within their suburb.

The overriding advice from all CMO’s is: if you are intending to travel, stay within your own state.

“The last thing we want to do is lift the borders, have lots of people come here for school holidays, spread coronavirus in our state, and then force us to go backwards on restrictions,” Queensland’s Health Minister Steven Miles said.

“Clearly what’s happening in Victoria will be a matter we will need to take into account in those considerations.”

And if you don’t live there, stay out of Melbourne.

“People should consider whether they should be travelling to Melbourne at this point in time while community transmission is where it is,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“Reconsider your plans. Reconsider what you’re doing. But certainly, Melbourne is a discretion. We would recommend people not at this stage travel to Melbourne unless they have to.”