Tourists are being asked to stay away from the Maranoa amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Tourists are being asked to stay away from the Maranoa amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Maranoa council’s message to tourists: Stay away

THE annual swarm of grey nomads descending on caravan parks across the Maranoa is often heavily relied upon economic boost that businesses in Roma and surrounding areas depend upon.

Every winter, thousands of caravans take to the outback highways of southwest Queensland in search of unique and colourful events hosted throughout Roma and surrounding towns.

This year however, tourists are being told to stay away, as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause havoc around the world.

While the Maranoa Regional Council has not closed its borders, it joined the contingent of Western Queensland Alliance of Councils telling tourists to stay away in the hopes it will prevent an outbreak near vulnerable remote medical services. .

“As the Queensland Government has closed the western and southern state borders, the 21 councils of Western Queensland are stepping up to monitor and restrict access to their communities,” a spokesman said.

“With the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) rising in Queensland, Western Queensland’s leaders have made the move to restrict travel not only to protect locals and essential service workers, but potential travellers as well.

“The action stems from the very real concern of being able to adequately respond should the virus reach our regional and remote communities. Western Queensland’s reality is vast distances from major centres, a lack of resources, and a significant number of the community are at high risk such as indigenous people and the elderly.

“The impact would reach beyond Western Queensland. The State economy would also take a significant blow with the region covering almost 60% of the state’s landmass and generating $9.35 billion of the State’s Gross Product.”

Last week, the Queensland Government announced the closure of all campgrounds in national parks, State Forests and state managed recreation and protection areas.

A Maranoa Regional Council spokeswoman said the announcement had prompted the closure of all council run tourism facilities.

“The closure of camping grounds does not extend to and include residential caravan parks,” she said.

“However to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Maranoa Regional Council closed a number of council run camping facilities to campers and caravans.

“The closed facilities include Bassett Park, Mitchell, Surat and Wallumbilla Showground facilities.”

At this stage, the public toilets at these campgrounds remain open.

Maranoa Regional Council has also closed a number of other tourism facilities:

  • The Great Artesian Spa in Mitchell
  • The Big Rig and Visitor Information Centre and the Big Rig miniature train, however the cafe remains open for takeaway
  • Information Centres in Mitchell, Injune and Surat
  • Roma Saleyards Interpretive Centre