Border bubble residents ‘too scared’ to visit the Gold Coast

 

FURIOUS retailers struggling to stay afloat during COVID-19 say their woes are being compounded because half their customer base is too terrified to cross the Queensland border.

Shop owners in The Strand in Coolangatta want Annastacia Palaszczuk to open Queensland's border because the closure is devastating the community without justification.

Business owner Les Graue said the Premier kept citing the closure was to keep Queenslanders safe from COVID but the number of cases didn't stack up.

 

Concrete Lines and My Scooter Lab owner Les Graue with Saltwater Silver owner Sarah Roth in an empty mall at The Strand. Picture: GLENN HAMPSON.
Concrete Lines and My Scooter Lab owner Les Graue with Saltwater Silver owner Sarah Roth in an empty mall at The Strand. Picture: GLENN HAMPSON.

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"They keep on saying it's due to medical advice, but we've never been presented with that advice to see if it is justified or not," Mr Graue said.

"If COVID-19 numbers in Queensland are the same as Sydney, and there's none in the ACT, then why are they declaring them hot spots?

"There's no COVID numbers in the Northern Rivers, and that's what is getting everyone's backs up.

"You can say what you want, but that is a fact, and that's what we look at and everyone is over it."

Saltwater Silver owner Sarah Roth said foot traffic picked up when the border opened in July but the "light at the end of the tunnel" soon disappeared with the introduction of the border bubble.

"As soon as that bubble was in place, it started to feel like the initial closure again - ghost town," Ms Roth said.

WHAT OUR READERS REALLY THINK OF THE BORDER BUBBLE

"We have a lot of elderly people in the Tweed who would drive their car around the corner, park at The Strand and do their shopping here.

"They like it here because we're independent, local retailers. We are not a big conglomerate.

"But they're scared of coming over now for fear of being stopped at the border, quarantining or being fined.

"They're even fearful of walking across without a pass because of being fined all these thousands of dollars."

 

Saltwater Silver owner Sarah Roth says her Tweed Shire customers are too afraid to cross the Queensland border. Picture: GLENN HAMPSON.
Saltwater Silver owner Sarah Roth says her Tweed Shire customers are too afraid to cross the Queensland border. Picture: GLENN HAMPSON.

Ms Roth said the closure had segregated the traditional "one community" of Tweed and Coolangatta.

"We have one road that separates two states, but it feels like separate countries.

"Everyone's walking around as if they have this huge crushing weight on their shoulders.

"It's demoralising and negative and it feels like we've got nothing to look forward to."

PREMIER ACCUSED OF USING BORDER AS A 'POLITICAL WEAPON'

Mr Graue, who owns Concrete Lines and My Scooter Lab, said retailers had been doing it tough for 12 months due to fires and floods, and it was time to move forward.

"We cannot continue to pay for closures, and when they say it might be two years away for a vaccine, we have to work out a way to live with it."

Originally published as Border bubble residents 'too scared' to visit the Gold Coast



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