Help stop the spread of coronavirus
Everyone has a responsibility to stop the spread of coronavirus and 'flatten the curve'.
- Stay at home if you are unwell
- Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and immediately put the tissue in the bin
- Avoid physical contact with other people, such as shaking hands and hugging
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds (hand washing guide)
You should stay home except for:
- Shopping for essential supplies needed to stay at home
- Medical care or compassionate needs
- Exercising in compliance with the two-person limit
- Work or study if you can not work or learn remotely
If you need to go out, maintain a 1.5m distance from other people wherever practical.
People in the following at-risk groups should stay at home as much as practical for their own protection:
- People aged 70 or over
- People aged 60 or over with a chronic issue
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 or over
Cairns Regional Council continues to follow the advice of Federal and State authorities regarding measures aimed at restricting the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Our two key priorities when it comes to day-to-day operations are the safety of our staff and the community, and the continuity of Council services.
As updates are available, they will be listed here. Bookmark this page and check back regularly.
There are 21 confirmed positive coronavirus cases in the Cairns region*, an increase of two from the previous day (updated 29 March).
Tropical Public Health Services Cairns is following up anyone who has had close contact with the patients.
Information on the current coronavirus status is provided by State and Federal health authorities.
Local information is also available on the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service Facebook page.
*Information for the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service area, which includes Cairns, the Tablelands, Tully, Chillagoe, Georgetown and Croydon.
Closures, cancellations and service changes
Council advises changes to the following venues, services and facilities following advice of Federal and State authorities regarding measures aimed at restricting the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Council’s key priorities remain the safety and wellbeing of staff and the community and continuity of services, as appropriate.
The status listed below will remain in effect until further notice.
|Venue or service||Status||Details|
|Animal pound||OPEN||Social distancing measures apply. Customers are encouraged to pay via contactless credit/debit card where possible.|
|Active Living (free fitness classes)||CANCELLED|
|Botanic Gardens||OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS|
Formal gathering areas are closed:
|Buy Back Shop||CLOSED|
|Cairns Esplanade||OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS|
Formal gathering areas are closed:
A lending amnesty has been extended to all residents who currently have borrowed items; there is no need to return items to the libraries.
Residents can access online library services including e-books, e-magazines, audio books, streaming services and e-learning services.
|Cairns Performing Arts Centre||CLOSED||All events scheduled prior to 31 May 2020 have been cancelled. A full refund will be provided to the original ticket holder. There is no need to contact Ticketlink at this time, ticket holders are asked to be patient.|
|Cemeteries||OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS||Funerals to be limited to 10 people including the priest/celebrant, staff and mourners. Social distancing rules of one person per 4m2 applies.|
|Community halls||CLOSED||Venue bookings are temporarily suspended. We're currently getting in touch with those who have existing bookings.|
|Customer Service Centres||CLOSED|
Online services available for:
|Events||CANCELLED||All Council-run and many community-run events have been cancelled or postponed until further notice.|
|Green Gyms (exercise equipment in parks)||CLOSED|
Green Space Our Place volunteers program
The top gate at the summit of Lake Morris Road has been closed to restrict access to recreation facilities at Lake Morris (Copperlode Dam).
|Munro Martin Parklands||CLOSED|
|Playgrounds||* SPECIFIC CLOSURES APPLY|
Note : adjacent parklands remain open (people must adhere to social distancing measures) but play equipment is not accessible.
Neighbourhood playgrounds remain open for use, but the following popular and heavily used playgrounds are closed:
|Public drinking water facilities||CLOSED|
|Recreation areas (beaches, parklands and natural areas)||OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS|
The following outdoor nature recreation areas remain open for use; people must adhere to social distancing measures:
Live testing of the outdoor early warning stations in Redlynch, installed as part of Council’s Copperlode Falls Dam Emergency Action Plan, scheduled for Thursday April 16, has been postponed.
|Tanks Arts Centre||CLOSED|
|Ticketlink||BOX OFFICE CLOSED|
|Walking tracks||OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS||All walking tracks and trails, including the Arrow tracks in Whitfield, are open with restrictions. Social distancing rules of one person per 4m2 applies.|
Health advice for residents and travellers
- Council urges residents to adhere to Queensland Health coronavirus health advice, which is the leading source of accurate health advice and alerts in Queensland.
- Australia-wide monitoring and response information, as well as latest official medical advice and case numbers can be found on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
- For the latest travel and border advice, visit the Australian Government smart traveller website.
Coronavirus app and WhatsApp channel
The Australian Government has launched an app to help residents stay informed with official information.
You can download the Australian Government Coronavirus app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store - search 'Coronavirus Australia'.
You can use the Australian Government Coronavirus app to:
- Stay up to date with the official information and advice
- Important health advice to help stop the spread and stay healthy
- Get a quick snapshot of the current official status within Australia
- Check your symptoms if you are concerned about yourself or someone else
- Find relevant contact information
- Access updated information from the Australian Government
- Receive push notifications of urgent information and updates
All information in the Australian Government Coronavirus app is sourced from Australia’s leading health organisations and has undergone a quality assurance process so people can know it is safe, appropriate and relevant for Australians.
What is coronavirus?
The COVID-19 novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans.
Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms reported in identified cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus include:
- A cough
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
Not everyone with these symptoms will have coronavirus. If you are concerned you have coronavirus, complete the healthdirect Coronvirus Symptom Checker
Stop the spread
Coronavirus can spread from person to person through:
- Close contact with an infectious person (including in the 24 hours before they started showing symptoms)
- Contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
- Touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face
COVID-19 is a new disease, so there is no existing immunity in our community. This means that COVID-19 could spread widely and quickly.
Help prevent the spread
Each of us has a role to play in stopping the spread of coronavirus to 'flatten the curve' by following health advice from official State and Federal health authorities.
You can play your part by:
- Staying at home if you are unwell
- Avoiding touching your face, nose and mouth
- Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or use a tissue and immediately put the tissue in the bin
- Staying 1.5m away from other people
- Avoiding physical contact with other people, such as shaking hands and hugging
- Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds (hand washing guide)
If you have been overseas in the past 14 days and feel unwell, contact your doctor immediately.
Residents must self isolate if they:
- Have coronavirus
- Have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus
- Have arrived in Cairns from overseas or interstate in the past 14 days (unless the travel is essential, including for work or medical care)
Self isolation means staying at home or in your hotel room for 14 days. This is to prevent the possible spread of the virus to other people.
This means you:
- Do not leave your home/hotel unless it is an emergency
- Do not go to public places such as work or shopping centres
- Do not let visitors in - only people who usually live with you should be in your home.
If you are well, there is no need to wear surgical masks inside.
If you are isolating at home, ask others who are not in isolation to get food and necessities for you.
If you are in a hotel you must avoid contact with other guests or staff.
If you need assistance, such as delivery of food and essential items, while in self isolation you can call the Community Recovery Hotline 1800 173 349 operated by the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors
Mental health support
It's natural to feel anxious or worried at this time. You can get support over the phone from these organisations:
|Lifeline||13 11 14|
|Relationships Australia Support and Information||1300 364 277|
|Domestic Violence Hotline (DV Connect)||1800 811 811|
|Kid's Help Line||1800 551 800|
|Parentline||1300 301 300|
|Mensline DV Connect Queensland||1800 600 636|
|Beyond||1300 224 636|
|13Health (Confidential Health Advice)||13 43 25|
|Gambling Helpline||1800 858 858|
Information, advice and ideas for maintaining good mental health
- Mental health advice from Head to Health
- Ideas for staying connected while being physically apart (Queensland Health)
- How to look after your mental wellbeing in a crisis (Queensland Health)
- Talking to children and young people about coronavirus (Red Cross)
- Diffusing family tension and conflict during coronavirus (Red Cross)
- Ways for families to stay happy and hopeful during self-isolation (Red Cross)
- Connect with others on the Beyond Blue Coping With Coronavirus online forum
Think before your flush
Only pee, poo and toilet paper should be flushed down the loo.
Other products, even if they are labelled 'flushable', don't break down like toilet paper and can cause significant blockages in your home plumbing and the sewer network.
Do not flush these items.
- Paper towels
- Baby wipes
- Wet wipes
- Serviettes and tissues
Visit our Think before you flush webpage and watch DJ Phatberg's video on what should and should not go down the toilet.
Support from the Australian Government
The Australian Government has announced a range of financial supports for residents.
You can find out about Australian Government assistance on the Services Australia website.
Here's how you can get help.
Support from Council
- Extended the due date for half-year rates payments to 27 May
- Extended the due date for water usage fees for three months
How you can help
Many of us want to support our local community in this difficult time.
We will be updating this page regularly with information from local groups and agencies on how you can best support them and some ideas for bringing a smile to someone's face.
GIVIT is a not-for-profit organisation that partners with the Queensland Government to coordinate donations of money and goods.
GIVIT is calling for cash donations which will be used to support the work of local Cairns charities. GIVIT has a buy local policy, so your donation will be spent in Cairns, further supporting our community.
To donate, visit the GIVIT Covid19 Appeal website for payment options.
To make sure your contribution is spent in Cairns, please specify this when making your donation. If you want to give generally to the appeal, that's fine too.
With businesses struggling in the wake of coronavirus it's more important than ever to spend locally.
The Cairns Chamber of Commerce, supported by Cairns Regional Council, is encouraging residents and businesses to 'Keep in in Cairns' by make a conscious effort to buy local, whether in person or online.
If all of us make just one change to support local suppliers and service providers, we can keep local people in jobs and business.
Follow Keep It In Cairns on Facebook for information and offers from local businesses.
Connect with your community
It's easy to feel disconnected from your friends, neighbours and community during self-isolation and social distancing. But people, all over the world, are finding ways to stay in touch. We'll be updating this section with ways you can keep connected in Cairns.
The 'Bear Hunt' is a global phenomenon giving children a fun way to get out of the house while maintaining social distancing.
To get involved, simply place a teddy bear in a window, on your fence, or anywhere it can be seen from the street.
Kids will then 'hunt' for the bears in their neighbourhoods.
There's a Cairns-based Facebook group where you can find places where bears may be lurking.
Help is available from all three levels of government for businesses, employers and employees affected by coronavirus.
The Australian Government's coronavirus information and support web page is updated regularly with announcements and assistance package information. The Government's business contact centre is staffed from 7am until 11pm: 13 28 46
The Australian Treasury is leading the economic response to the coronavirus
Assistance available from the Federal Government includes:
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
- Small or medium business with reduced cash flow
- Assistance to help pay the wages of apprentices or trainees
- Assistance for casual workers affected by COVID-19
- Meeting obligations about superannuation payments
- Household finances hit by reduced work?
- Are you a sole trader who has lost business?
- Assisting with economic recovery
- Payments to support households
- Early access to superannuation
The Queensland Government is updating information about assistance packages through its Business Queensland pages. You will find information here about the following:
- Comprehensive and up-to-date information detailing prohibited activities and venues that are affected by public health directives.It also includes exceptions that currently apply.
- Do you need support retaining employees and maintaining operations?
- Are you having difficulties accessing supplies? Complete the supply matching request form.
- Have you lost your job or income and want to find out the government's commitment to retraining, job-matching and transition?
- Are you an employer who pays $6.5 million or less in Australian taxable wages who needs payroll tax relief?
- Are you an agriculture, food, and fishing exporter or a critical supply chain partner? Find out more about market diversification and resilience grants.
- Do you need tailored support including financial mentoring and business planning?
- A resource about pandemic risk management for businesses.
Cairns Regional Council support package information can be found on the Council’s website.
- Council will provide a three-month extension on a range of business-related fees and charges
- Council is waiving all outdoor dining fees for three months (April to June)
- Water usage bill due dates (for businesses and residents) for three months.
- As more people begin working from home, NBN Co has made changes to data allowances, waived additional wholesale capacity charges and created a blog, FAQs and tips to support people transitioning out of the office.
- The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has compiled resources to support its members including access to free software and tools to move business online, a 'Stand-down toolkit', and webinars. Operating hours of CCIQ's Employee Assistance (HR) hotline have been extended: 1300 731988
- Cairns Regional Council has a Takeaway and deliveries fact sheet ( PDF, 0.66 MB ) with handy tips to help Fixed Food Business licence holders minimise the risks should they choose to offer takeaway and/or delivery.
- Restaurant and Catering Australia also has information sheets and resources, including fact sheets about takeaway and pre-packaged meals.
Council media and updates
Council media releases
- 27 March - Leaders push for immediate PPE supplies
- 26 March - Coronavirus advice No 8: Buy Back Shop closure, live testing postponed
- 25 March - Coronavirus advice No. 7: Closures and restrictions
- 25 March - Coronavirus advice No. 6: Customer Service Centre closure
- 24 March - Coronavirus advice No. 5: lifetime dog registration renewals by phone
- 24 March - Coronavirus advice No. 4: events, activities suspended
- 23 March - United front to respond to coronavirus
- 23 March - Coronavirus advice No. 3: Libraries, Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre and Tank 4 closed
- 20 March - Support package for Cairns
- 18 March - Coronavirus advice No. 2: event cancellations, visitor cap at Libraries
- 16 March - Essential services not impacted by crisis
- 12 February - Economic initiatives in response to Coronavirus.
Local Leadership Committee
The city's leaders have come together to form the Local Leadership Committee to ensure a coordinated, tangible and targetted local response to the coronavirus across Federal, State and Local Governments. The committee comprises Cairns Mayor Bob Manning, State Member for Cairns Michael Healy and Federal Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch.
It is supported by two sub-committees focused on the human and social impacts of the crisis, and economic response and recovery.
Closures and restrictions
- NOTE: refer to our closures, cancellations and service changes webpage for a full list of affected facilities and services.
26 March 2020: The Buy Back Shop at Portsmith has been closed. Council's transfer stations remain open. Access to Lake Morris restricted and live testing of the early warning stations in Redlynch, scheduled for Thursday 16 April, has been postponed.
25 March 2020: A number of council facilities, skate parks and BMX tracks have been closed following the Prime Minister's advice to stay home except for essential business. Restrictions have also been put in place at parks, playgrounds and natural areas.
Customer Service Centre closure
25 March 2020: Council’s Customer Service Centre at Spence Street will close at 4.30pm today (Wednesday 25 March 2020). This decision follows the Prime Minister’s advice last night for people to stay home except for essential trips.
Residents can go to the Council website (www.cairns.qld.gov.au) to access a full range of services, including:
- Payment of bills
- Renewing registrations
- Payment of fines
- Reporting a problem
- Making applications
Payments by MasterCard and Visa Card can be made conveniently and securely via the Online Self Service payment page on Council’s website.
Those aged persons having trouble navigating online services, can call Council’s Customer Service Centre on 1300 692 247 for assistance.
Residents are also encouraged to download the My Cairns app, free of charge, which allows users to report a problem.
Events, activities suspended
24 March 2020: In light of the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding changes to non-essential gatherings, Cairns Regional Council has suspended the following events and activities, until further notice:
- The Esplanade and Suburban Active Living programs.
- Esplanade Markets and Tanks Markets.
- Green Space Our Place volunteers program.
Council has also taken the following actions:
- Cancellations and no further bookings for the use of outdoor spaces, such as barbecues and parks.
- Cancellations and no further bookings for the use of community halls.
- Suspension of Community Recreational permits.
- Closure of the Bramston Beach campgrounds.
- Closure of the Babinda Rotary Park and Babinda Boulders campgrounds.
- Ticketlink box office closed to the public, but remains contactable by phone, email and online.
Libraries, Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre, Tank 4 closed
23 March 2020: In light of the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding changes to non-essential indoor gatherings, all Cairns Libraries branches will close at noon today, until further notice. The decision reflects the need to protect the most vulnerable in our community.
A lending amnesty has been extended to all residents who currently have borrowed items. There is no need to return items to the libraries. Residents can continue to access online library services including ebooks, emagazines, audio books, streaming services and elearning services. See online services on Cairns Libraries website.
The Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre and Tank 4 (exhibition space) are also closed until further notice.
United front to respond to coronavirus
23 March 2020: The city’s Federal, State and Local government leaders will coordinate the local response to the coronavirus pandemic through a new committee structure which will focus on the social and economic impacts of the crisis.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning, Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, and State Member for Cairns Michael Healy met this morning to establish the Local Leadership Committee (LLC), which will meet at least weekly to ensure there is a united approach to respond to the COVID-19 event. The newly established structure and its committees will focus on the human social impacts of the crisis, as well as economic response and recovery.
20 March 2020: Cairns Mayor Bob Manning announced a series of measures to assist businesses and generate employment in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Council will:
- Pump $2.5 million into the Cairns community in the next three months by bringing forward maintenance works
- Reduce rent for businesses leasing Council facilities
- Provide a three-month extension on a range of business-related fees and charges
- Waive all outdoor dining fees for three months (April to June)
- Extend the due date on a raft of business fees
- Extend the due date for water usage (for businesses and residents) for three months
These measures follow an initial suite of support initiatives approved by Council in February.
Events and essential services
18 March 2020: Tanks Arts Centre and Cairns Performing Arts Centre - all events scheduled prior to 31 May have been cancelled. A full refund will be provided to the original ticket holder. There is no need to contact Ticketlink at this time, ticket holders are asked to be patient.
- Visit our Annual Events web page for a listing of cancelled or postponed major events.
12 February 2020: Council announced a raft of initiatives to respond to the ongoing economic impacts from Novel Coronavirus. These include providing an extension on half year rate payments to 27 May, fast-track funding for marketing the region and production of videos to drive tourism as part of a raft of initiatives.
Information in other languages
The Australian Government has translated coronavirus information and prevention guidelines in several languages.
Direct links to information in key languages spoken in our region are available below.
SBS is providing coronavirus new and information in 63 languages. Find information in your language.