Cut down on Stradbroke, SMBI, Coochie travel, mainland residents told amid coronavirus ferry fears

PERSONAL SPACE: Jetty Coffee Co encouraged its customers to follow social distancing rules. The cafe was still open for takeaway food and drink, with staff saying while they still had quite a few customers, they had noticed a difference since coronavirus restrictions were put in place yesterday.
PERSONAL SPACE: Jetty Coffee Co encouraged its customers to follow social distancing rules. The cafe was still open for takeaway food and drink, with staff saying while they still had quite a few customers, they had noticed a difference since coronavirus restrictions were put in place yesterday.

REDLANDS residents are being urged to limit non-essential travel to the islands to protect elderly and vulnerable residents as the mayor steps up the disaster management status.

The Redland City Local Disaster Management Group and Redland City Council asked people to reconsider their need for non-essential travel to North Stradbroke, Coochiemudlo, Russell, Lamb, Macleay and Karragarra islands.

The request comes as chair of the Disaster Management Group mayor Karen Williams moved the group to Stand Up status on Monday.

Cr Williams said the city's islands had ageing populations and vulnerable communities, putting residents at risk of complications from the virus that is causing COVID-19.

"In line with federal and state government messaging, we are strongly urging everyone to avoid non-essential travel of any kind, especially to our islands," she said.

"This will help slow the spread of the virus and protect our island communities.

"The LDMG has written to the State Disaster Co-ordination Centre to urge a decision from them on restricting non-essential travel to our city's islands.

"In the meantime, essential travel would include travelling for work, medical reasons, education, compassionate reasons and to deliver essential services and supplies such as groceries.

"Non-essential travel includes recreation, tourism, including camping, and general socialising with friends and family.

"We are asking everyone to help us slow the spread of this virus by staying away from our islands unless they live there or have a need for essential travel.

"This way, we help slow the spread of the virus and save lives."

The Stradbroke Flyer told passengers on Monday that services would be disrupted due to COVID-19.

Island resident and council candidate Ann Hagen said many people were trying to limit their travel on ferries but there were still concerns about transmission of the virus.

"I know cleaning has increased but some are still holding handrails at the jetty that could be virus laden then boarding," she said.

"Most are practicing social distancing in queues but that's not possible on peak ferries.

"Islanders need more protection.

"(It's) no good saying stay home - a friend is going to an essential medical appointment today in Brisbane. (There are) so many older people with health issues and mainland appointments."

The median age for residents on Macleay, Lamb and Karragarra islands at the 2016 Census was 59, more than 20 years above the Queensland median age.

Cr Williams said the island transport was often crowded, particularly as thousands of visitors arrived on the islands at peak times, including Easter.

"This makes social distancing difficult," she said.

"The islands also have limited medical facilities, so protecting these communities is vitally important.

"I strongly encourage people to rethink their Easter holiday plans if they include the islands, and to contact their tourism or accommodation provider to discuss alternative arrangements."