While some restrictions remain in place across both states, residents have been gifted a lot more freedom than first feared when two separate clusters stemming from one of Brisbane’s biggest hospital’s sparked a three-day lockdown earlier this week.
Celebrations got off to an early start on Thursday as hospitality venues reopened and holidaymakers flooded highways to escape the city.
The impact is being felt not just where community transmission was uncovered, in Greater Brisbane and Byron Bay, but right around the country as many travellers head north for the long weekend.
Melbourne Airport was already busy this morning, with more than 20 planes set to leave for Brisbane throughout the day.
The discovery of multiple cases of community transmission on the first two days of Greater Brisbane’s lockdown sparked fears the shutdown could be extended across the Easter long weekend.
But when more than 34,000 tests turned up just one new case, clearly linked to the Princess Alexandra Hospital nurse who later attended a hens party in Byron Bay, that was enough for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to give the green light to reopen.
Significant restrictions still remain, including the mask mandate and a ban on dancing or drinking at indoor venues but Queenslanders have been told they’re free to travel after double-checking the restrictions in place on departure and arrival.
It was a similar message for NSW holidaymakers who were reassured they could head north to Queensland over Easter without worrying about being forced to quarantine on return.
“As far as NSW is concerned, we always have open borders,” Ms Berejiklian told Today yesterday.
“Our citizens should never feel they can’t come back home.”
The event would have hosted more than 16,000 people per day to see an extensive line-up of Australian bands and musicians – most of whom have been unable to perform since March last year.
Bluesfest says punters can still get their money back or transfer their ticket to the rescheduled date but the cancellation has still thrown weekend plans into chaos for many.