As the State Government’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate nears, Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) has ensured it is ready for the new restrictions that will soon come into place.

With local government authorities obliged to follow the law set by the State Government, TRC Mayor Paul Antonio said Council would follow all health directives and provide a safe place for its employees and visitors.

“This Friday, a new mandate will come into effect, that will impact not only residents in our community, but the entire State of Queensland,” Mayor Antonio said.

“There is no doubt this decision has caused anxiety for businesses and residents and is a source of division for sectors of our community.

“In saying this, we have a responsibility to follow the rules which we’ve been given and as such, from 5am Friday, unvaccinated residents will be unable to enter Council-run sit-down cafes, hospitality venues, art galleries and museums across the Region, unless you have a medical exemption, in which case you'll need to provide evidence.

"However, Council-run facilities such as Customer Service Centres, libraries, pools and gyms will remain open to all members of the public.

“Another facility included in the mandate is hospitality uses within the Highfields Cultural Centre, however, with the venue closed for events from Friday 17 December to Tuesday 4 January for its annual close down, residents are unlikely to notice a change in service levels as the Customer Service Centre will remain open to all members of the public.

“Once the Centre re-opens to hospitality events on 4 January, restrictions will likely come into effect and this will be communicated with the community.

“Unticketed, outdoor, community events (eg. movies in the park, carols in the park, New Year fireworks) are not in scope for the rules around events and entertainment and therefore all members of the community are welcome to attend.

“It’s not just Council facilities that’ll be affected, but businesses right across the Region so please ensure you continue to support local businesses during this time and obey the rules.

“I understand it’ll take a while for the community to adjust to these changes, so I’m asking you to please be respectful to staff and have patience.

“At the end of the day, we’re all doing what we can to ensure the safety of our community.

“Now is not the time for division – it’s a time for respect, compassion and understanding. Our collective efforts have served us well to date and will be an important step in keeping our lives functioning safely and fully in 2022.”

When entering a Council run facility, please ensure you’re checking in via the Check in Queensland App. If it’s a facility that falls under the vaccination mandate staff may ask for proof of vaccination status prior to entry.

For more information on the restrictions coming into place from 17 December, visit the Queensland Government’s vaccination restrictions page.