Published by The Border Watch
Premier rejects push to fast-track regional reopening
AN HOUR long telephone call has done little to change Premier Steven Marshall’s mind on fast-tracking restrictions in regional areas independent MP Troy Bell says, with the state leader supporting a blanket approach of the three-stage road map.
The Member for Mount Gambier said he spoke to the Premier at length about reopening Limestone Coast communities over the weekend, but said Mr Marshall was steadfast in his opposition to allowing pubs and businesses to open prematurely.
Although Mr Marshall has encouraged South Australians to visit regional areas, Mr Bell said he had urged the Premier to consider allowing regional areas to resume business - many of which have had few or no cases of COVID-19 and jumpstart the state’s economy.
“There are many businesses in Mount Gambier that are hurting at the moment and I have made sure those concerns are heard by the Premier,” Mr Bell said.
“I have spoken to the Premier about opening the regions up first and he has indicated to me he is not inclined to do that.
“Because he has a business background he understands that opening a pub to 10 to 20 people is not viable.”
“He indicated between 50 to 80 people in venues such as pubs would be required to make opening viable.”
In Queensland, regional areas - many of which have been free from COVID19 - have minimal restrictions on travel and the number of people gathering in a public space.
But according to Mr Bell, the South Australian Government would not carve out regions to be exempt from the statewide ban.
“I have relayed the concerns of our business community to the Premier and he has promised me he will allow pubs to open up with greater numbers as soon as we can,” Mr Bell said.
“The quickest way we can help this is by downloading the COVIDSafe app.”
Premier Steven Marshall told The Border Watch the resumption of normal business activities needed to be done safely.
“This virus does not discriminate,” he said.
“... we are now in a position to start getting back to business by progressively easing restrictions across the state.
“Tourism and regional communities are an incredibly important part of our lifestyle in South Australia and it’s great news that due to our due diligence, we can start to get back to normal again soon.”