Brisbane breathes easy after weeks of strict restrictions
Greater Brisbane has breathed an uncovered sigh of relief as restrictions ease today after a mutant COVID scare masked the city for weeks.
Australia watched on in hope as borders shut and the city streets emptied when a hotel worker was found to have contracted a mutant, highly contagious strain of COVID-19 from the UK.
A three-day lockdown was introduced on January 8 with strict restrictions remaining from the 11th till 1am this morning.
But Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk cheerfully announced yesterday that Greater Brisbane residents could remove their masks except when they are at airports and when travelling on planes.
She praised the state's "tremendous" work in defeating the mutant UK strain.
"Can I sincerely thank the people of Greater Brisbane," she said.
"You have done an absolutely terrific job and because of that it means the masks can come off."
The mask mandate has ended and dancing is back.
Indoor venues, including restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, libraries, places of worship and art galleries cater to one person per 2sq m, which is a boost from 4 sqm.
Private gatherings of up to 100 are allowed in public spaces and ticketed venues, like cinemas, theatres and live music venues return to 100 per cent capacity.
Wedding and funeral guest limits return to 200 people and private gatherings at homes are be capped at 50.
Gyms across Greater Brisbane are rejoicing as clients can train mask free once again.
Owner of Hendra Healthworks Jared Raimondi says he looks forward to seeing a busy gym.
"Learning that we have endured without a more severe lock down is a relief," Mr Raimondi said.
"Both staff and members have been fantastic in their understanding and compliance with the restrictions and while the masks were somewhat uncomfortable, there is really no other city I'd rather be operating in."
"I am looking forward to a mask free and busy health club."
Prestige-Fit Director Isaac Calvert welcomes the changes, despite confusions when the rules were originally imposed.
"It's obviously not the most ideal scenario but there's the odd person that is resistant to it, but for people with asthma and things like that where we really have to control and make sure they can breathe well," he said.
"There was a bit of confusion at the very start when they said they must be worn all the time and then they gave us some boundaries around that."
Originally published as Brisbane breathes easy after weeks of strict restrictions