Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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.

Help stop the spread, protect yourself and keep well

Everyone has a responsibility to stop the spread of coronavirus. Council urges residents to adhere to Queensland Health coronavirus health advice, which is the leading source of accurate health advice and alerts in Queensland.

The Queensland Health website also has a wealth of information on protecting yourself and others (including the latest social distancing measures and restrictions), keeping well, mental health support, and much more.

On 13 November, the Queensland Government announced further changes to its roadmap for easing of restrictions which come into effect on 17 November. The changes will lift the limits on gatherings:

  • in homes and public spaces
  • for weddings and funerals
  • at businesses including restaurants and bars
  • at outdoor stadiums
  • at entertainment venues
  • and events.

More information on the changes is available on the Queensland Government website

Council services, venues and facilities

Council services, venues and facilities operate under Queensland Government rules:

  • Indoor facilities - one person per two metre square rule
  • Community Halls - gatherings limited to 50 people with an approved Queensland Health COVID Safe Plan/Checklist.
  • Outdoor facilities - gatherings limited to 100* people (eg parks and playground).
  • Residents should adhere to physical distancing by maintaining 1.5m from other people where practical

*From 1am Tuesday 1 December

Performance venues

  • CPAC and Tanks are operating under restricted capacity. See Ticketlink.

Refer to our Closures and service changes page for full details including restrictions.

Current cases, contact tracing and testing


An 'historic' COVID-19 cases has been recorded in Cairns (15 January 2021). The man, a returned traveller, tested negative in hotel quarantine and was released, but has since tested positive. He's in quarantine in Cairns Hospital. Queensland Health believe he is likely 'shedding' the virus based on a previous infection. Further investigation is ongoing. Health authorities ask anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, to get tested and isolate until they return a negative test.

Coronavirus case numbers are provided by the Queensland Government.

There have been 39 confirmed positive cases in the Cairns Regional Council area to date.

  • 27 acquired overseas
  • 7 locally acquired, known contact
  • 3 locally acquired, no known contact
  • 1 from interstate
  • 1 under investigation

More information

Information on the current coronavirus status is provided by State and Federal health authorities.

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is underway in relation to a 30-year-old Queensland woman who tested positive to COVID-19 while visiting Melbourne.

The woman had been in Cairns in the days prior to the positive test.

Following an 'abundance of caution', Queensland Health has asked residents who have been on the flights or visited the restaurants below to monitor their health and get tested immediately if they have even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms.

Flight numberAirlineRouteDate of arrival
QF2302QantasTownsville to Cairns3 October
VA782VirginCairns to Brisbane6 October
Tha FishCairns5.45pm to 8.30pm3 October
Vivo Palm CovePalm Cove5.15pm to 9pm5 October


Anyone with coronvirus symptoms, no matter how mild, is urged to get tested and self-isolate until they receive their test results.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of smell / and or taste

Queensland Health has testing clinics at the Cairns and Babinda hospitals and a drive-through clinic at 43 Aumuller Street, Portsmith (appointment needed, call 4226 4781, if line is busy leave a message).

Your GP can also order a coronavirus test.

Your can find your nearest testing clinic on the Queensland Health website.

COVIDSafe app

The Australian Government is encouraging residents to download the COVIDSafe app to their mobile phone.

The app helps health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). COVIDSafe is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store (Android devices).

Downloading the app is voluntary. The Government says 40 per cent of Australians will need to download the app for it to be effective.

For more information on the app, how it works and privacy visit the Australian Government website.

Closures and service changes - Council facilities

The Queensland Government has made further changes to its Roadmap to easing Queensland restrictions. These relaxed rules come into effect at 4pm on Tuesday 17 November.

From 1 December the limit on private gatherings in public spaces (parks, playgrounds, beaches etc)  was lifted to 100 people

Please check back regularly for updates.

The status listed below will remain in effect until further notice. Users should adhere to physical distancing measures, good hygiene practices and follow the direction of any signage.

Facility status:

Venue or serviceStatusDetails
Animal pound OPEN Customers are encouraged to pay via contactless credit/debit card where possible.
Active Living (free fitness classes) OPEN

Participants must provide personal details for contact tracing purposes

Barlow Park OPENCasual athletics only
Basketball courts (public) OPEN

Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

BMX tracks OPEN

Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people



Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

Beaches OPEN

Beaches and Council facilities on the foreshore are open for recreational purposes (swimming, exercising, picnics, barbecues etc). Social distancing rules apply; maximum 50 people per gathering.


Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

Buy Back Shop OPEN  

All public facilities on the Cairns Esplanade are OPEN.

Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

  • Capacity limits according to one person per two metres square rule
  • Users must provide personal details for contact tracing purposes
Cairns Performing Arts Centre OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

The Cairns Performing Arts Centre is operating under a COVID Safe Industry Plan. For information on attending shows, visit the CPAC website.

Council camping grounds OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

    Users must provide contract tracing details.

  • Bramston Beach campground -  OPEN
  • Babinda Rotary Park campground* - OPEN
  • Babinda Boulders campground* - OPEN
  • Greenpatch (Gordonvale) campground* - CLOSED FOR WET SEASON

*Capacity capped to ensure social distancing can be maintained.


Funerals attendance restrictions apply as set by the Queensland Government.

Maximum of 200 people


Community Halls operating at 1 person per 2m2. See the Community Halls and Centres page for capacity as specific venues.

Customer Service Centres OPEN

Customer services centre are now open.

  • Operating hours and contact details.
  • Spence Street Customer Service Centre accepts EFTPOS, cheque and cash payments.
  • Customer Service at Cairns Libraries do not accept cash payments; EFTPOS and cheque only.

Online services:

  • Payment of bills
  • Renewing registrations
  • Payment of fines
  • Reporting a problem
  • Making applications

Some annual events have been cancelled. But more and more Council and community events have started up.

See the upcoming events listing for details

Green Gyms (exercise equipment in parks)  OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

Green Space Our Place volunteers program

Lake Morris OPEN  
Lagoon OPEN

Parklands: gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

Lagoon: gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people per section

Markets VARIED
  • Esplanade Markets - CANCELLED
  • Tanks Markets - OPEN with social distancing rules in place

Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

Munro Martin Parklands OPEN

Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

Playgrounds OPEN

Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

Public drinking water facilities OPEN  
Public toilets OPEN  
Recreation areas: (beaches, parklands and natural areas not within National Parks) OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS
  • Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people
  • Barbecue facilities - open
  • Toilet facilities - open
Recreation areas within National Parks OPEN  
Skate parks OPEN

Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

Swimming pools OPEN

Swimming pools are open under COVID-safe plans.

For details see each pool's website.


Performances have recommenced under a COVID Safe Industry Plan.

Check the Tanks websites for details. Tickets from Ticketlink.

Tennis courts (public) OPEN  
Ticketlink OPEN 
Walking tracks (including Arrow tracks) OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

All walking tracks and trails, including the Arrow tracks in Whitfield, are open with restrictions.

Gatherings restricted to groups of 100 people

Movement and gatherings

Easing of restrictions

Current restrictions (effective 4pm 17 November)

Indoor personal gathers (eg homes): increase from 40 to 50 people

Outdoor gatherings (eg barbecues, skate parks): increased to 100* people

Indoor premises: to one per person per 2m2 (e.g. restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, museums, art galleries, places of worship, convention centres and Parliament House). Indoor play areas within a premises can open too.

Wedding ceremonies: Up to 200 people can attend a wedding and all guests can dance (both indoors and outdoors).

Funerals: Up to 200 people can attend a funeral.

Indoor events: Seated, ticketed venues 100% of capacity, patrons to wear masks on entry and exit (e.g. theatre, live music, cinemas and indoor sports).

Outdoor events: 1500 people allowed with a COVID Safe Event Checklist. Larger events require a COVID Safe Plan.

Open air stadiums: 100% of capacity (with a COVID Safe Plan)

Outdoor dancing: allowed (e.g. outdoor music festivals, beer gardens).

Indoor dancing: allowed, venues need to adhere to the one person per  2mrule**

*Changed from 1am on 1 December. **Effective noon 13 December

More information

Queensland Government roadmap for easing restrictions

Movement and Gatherings

Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings

For more information on these regulations, or to report a breach, contact Queensland Health by phone on 13 4 COVID (13 4 26843), use their online form or email

Queensland borders

The Queensland border has reopened to all states and territories except declared hotspot. People visiting Queensland do not need to quarantine unless they have been in a hot spot in the past 14 days.

Current hot spots:

  • Greater Sydney (from 1am AEST Tuesday 22 December)

Queensland residents returning to the State (and exempt people) who have been in a hot spot in the past 14 days will need to enter Queensland by air (not by road) and quarantine in a State-assigned hotel, at their own expense.

More information

Self isolation

Self-isolation means you must stay at home or in your hotel room for 14 days. You must self-isolate if you:

  • have coronavirus
  • have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus
  • arrived from overseas
  • arrived in Queensland from a declared hotspot

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.

Financial and community assistance

Economic support

Council support

To support Cairns residents and businesses, Council has endorsed the Financial Hardship Policy to provide rates and charges assistance (by way of extended payments plans and interest waivers) to those ratepayers suffering financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

To request assistance, complete the Rates hardship relief online form and our Revenue Team will contact you.

Australian Government support

On 21 July, the Australian Government announced changes to JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments. You can read more in this factsheet.

For information, and to apply, for Australian Government financial support visit Services Australia.

Working from home tax deductions

The Australian Taxation Office has announced changes to rules around claiming expenses associated with working from home during Covid-19.

Queensland Government support


The Queensland Government has announced a range of support for renters and landlords including a freeze on evictions and a one-off rental grant for those who have been financially impacted by coronavirus and have no other financial assistance.

The Residential Rental Hub has information for renters, property owners, agents and property managers.

Utilities rebate

The Queensland Government's economic relief package will support Queenslanders’ health, jobs and businesses. For households, the package includes $200 rebate for all Queensland households to offset the cost of water and electricity bills. The rebate will be automatically applied through household electricity bills in the coming months.

For details on financial assistance for Queensland businesses, refer to the Business Queensland portal.

Community sport

The Queensland Government's Return to Play program offers assistance to community sport, recreation and fitness organisations with a range of funding and grants.

Applications for the COVID SAFE Active Clubs Kickstart grant open on March 25. Clubs can apply for $2000 to go toward hygiene supplies, equipment and operational costs for COVID Safe clubs to return to sport.

Mental health support

It's natural to feel anxious or worried at this time.

Beyond Blue has been funded to provide mental health support during the coronavirus pandemic. You can find a wealth of information on their website, or contact the helpline on 1800 512 348.

The Queensland Government also has support for people experiencing domestic and family violence.

Support over the phone is available from these organisations:

Lifeline 13 11 14
Relationships Australia Support and Information1300 364 277
Domestic Violence Hotline (DV Connect)1800 811 811
Kid's Help Line1800 551 800
Parentline1300 301 300
Mensline DV Connect Queensland1800 600 636
Beyond 1300 224 636
13Health (Confidential Health Advice)13 43 25
Gambling Helpline1800 858 858

Information, advice and ideas for maintaining good mental health

Community support for elderly, disabled and self-isolating

Food deliveries

The following local service organisations are providing assistance to elderly residents during the coronavirus crisis.

Note: each service agency sets their own eligibility criteria. Services offered are subject to resource availability.

Salvation Army

  • food deliveries to elderly residents and self-isolating only
  • contact the Salvos by phone 1800 173 379 or 4051 2454, or via email:

St Vincent de Paul

  • food deliveries to elderly residents
  • contact Vinnies directly by phone 4032 3201

Meals on Wheels

  • food deliveries on a fee-for-service basis
  • operating at Cairns (4051 1300 ) and Marlin Coast (4055 6016) centres
  • Marlin Coast only operate Monday, Wednesday and Friday


  • food deliveries to elderly residents and self-isolating only
  • Contact Anglicare by phone 0436 608 697

Community Recovery Hotline (Queensland Government)

If you have no other means of getting food or essential items, call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.

The hotline has been activated by the Queensland Government to assist people who have been advised to quarantine at home by a medical professional, Queensland Health or through government direction and have no other mechanisms for support.

Government staff will work with partner organisations to arrange non-contact delivery of essential food and medication to people in quarantine with no other means of support.

Economic response and recovery

A pathway to recovery from COVID-19

In close collaboration with the Cairns COVID-19 Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee, Council has developed the Cairns Pathway to Recovery from COVID-19.  The document summarises the economic impacts of COVID-19 and sets out a four phase plan for economic recovery.

You can download the document here ( PDF, 2.09 MB ) or by clicking on the cover image above.

Economic impact of COVID-19 on Cairns

Council commissioned independent economic advisory firm, .id Consulting Pty Ltd, to analyse the anticipated impacts of COVID-19 on the Cairns economy.

Download and read a copy of the report ( PDF, 1.21 MB ).

Key findings include:

  • Pre COVID-19, the Cairns economy was strong with Gross Regional Product (GRP) growth above Queensland and Australian averages, and unemployment well below both the state and national levels.
  • The re-establishment of domestic aviation connectivity and capacity into Cairns is critically important, coupled with investment in destination marketing to fill that capacity. This is what will be required to return the city’s service population to ‘pre-COVID’ levels and get the local economy moving again.

Cairns business survival initiatives identified

Back in March, business leaders in Cairns developed a suite of 10 key initiatives for consideration by Government (Federal, State and Local) in response to the unfolding economic effects from the spread of COVID-19.

The initiatives were developed by the Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee (ERRSC), a group chaired by Cairns Regional Council's Chief Executive Officer, and comprising representatives of business and peak bodies, including Advance Cairns, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Cairns Airport, Ports North and others.

The ERRSC report outlining the recommended 10 key Business Survival Initiatives ( PDF, 0.64 MB ) was presented to this local leadership group and distributed through relevant channels of the three levels of Government for consideration.

Council is maintaining and regularly updating a Status Report ( PDF, 0.15 MB ) which tracks action that has been taken on each of the 10 key Business Survival Initiatives.

Preliminary report on stimulus initiatives

The ERRSC has also prepared a Preliminary Report on Stimulus Initiatives ( PDF, 0.18 MB ) into the recommended projects, policy and programs needed to support economic recovery and job creation in the Cairns region over the short to medium term and in response to the impacts of COVID-19.

The ERRSC welcomes suggestions, ideas and input which can be submitted direct to Council’s Economic Development Team at:

Official information sources

Australian Government

Latest health information

Australian Government coronavirus site 

Australian Department of Health

Australian Government Coronavirus app

Australian Department of Health media releases

Australian Health  Protection Principal Committee

Prime Minister of Australia (includes transcripts of major announcements)

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Business information

Scamwatch website for more information on coronavirus scams and tips on how to protect your business online

Australian Treasury is leading the economic response to the coronavirus

Covid safe events

Event organisers seeking to hold an event in Queensland must adhere to the requirements set out in the Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events. Additionally, organisers will require approval from Cairns Regional Council if the event is held at a Council venue.

The key principle in staging events is to avoid overcrowding. Organisers should apply the one person per 4 square metre rule (for indoor events) and one person per 2 square metres (for outdoor events). Organisers also need to have a plan in place to protect attendees and different COVID plans depending on the number of people attending an event.

Events under approved COVID Safe Plan

Event organisers need to determine if the event can operate in compliance with  an existing approved COVID Safe Industry, Site-Specific or Professional Sporting Code Plan. The plan must cover all facets of the event.

The event organiser must also notify the local Public Health Unit of the event at least 10 business days prior to the event taking place if:

  • 500 people per day or more are attending an indoor event, or
  • 1500 people or more per day are attending an outdoor event.

Events not covered by COVID Safe Plan

If the event cannot operate under one of these plans then the event organiser must comply with the following:

Indoor Events
  • 500 people or fewer – must comply with COVID Safe Event Checklist. No further approval from Queensland Health needed
  • 500 – 10,000 people – must comply with a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by the local Public Health Unit
  • 10,000 people or more – must comply with a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by the Chief Health Officer
Outdoor Events
  • 1,500 people or fewer – must comply with the COVID Safe Event Checklist; no further approval from Queensland Health needed.
  • 1,500 – 10,000 people – must comply with a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by the local Public Health Unit
  • 10,000 people or more – must comply with a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by the Chief Health Officer

Council requests that all COVID Safe Event Checklists and COVID Safe Event Plans are provided to Council when operating within Council venues. Officers are available to assist with these documents.

See below for more information:

COVID-19 Cairns Local Recovery Planning

Since the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020, Council has worked with health authorities, government agencies, the business sector and social services to coordinate support efforts for our community.

The human and social response to COVID-19 was initially managed by a committee, the HSRRSC, which was led by Council and included dozens of local services providers and government agencies.

We have also been looking towards the future, working together, and planning to put frameworks and strategies into place to help the community to recover and thrive.

One of the early recovery tasks was a Rapid Social Needs Assessment ( PDF, 3.41 MB ), undertaken by James Cook University, to gauge the human and social impact and needs of our community.

HSRRSC member organisations

Access Community HousingAnglicare North QueenslandARC Disability ServicesCairns Region Indigenous Business NetworkCairns Regional Council
Cairns Regional Domestic Violence ServiceCairns Safer StreetsCentacare FNQDepartment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PartnershipsWuchopperen
Department of Communities, Disability Services and SeniorsDepartment of EducationDepartment of Home AffairsDepartment of Housing and Public WorksGilvear Planning
GIVITMeals on WheelsMarlin Coast Neighbourhood CentreMission AustraliaNeami Australia (Cairns)
Northern Qld Primary Health NetworkQueensland Health - mental healthQueensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal ServiceQueensland Human Rights CommissionQueensland Police Service
Queensland Reconstruction AuthorityQShelterRed CrossSalvation ArmySelectability
Services AustraliaSHAC (Shelter Housing Action Cairns)St Vincent de Paul SocietyThe Mara WayUCC Lifeline
UMI Arts LimitedUniting Care QueenslandYouth Empowered Towards Independence  
Additional consultations

COVID-19 Cairns Local Recovery Plan

The COVID-19 Cairns Local Recovery Plan sets out the tasks and actions we will need to recover and strengthen our community and economy. Together, with more than 100 community groups, government agencies, charity organisations, businesses and industry groups, we have drafted a number of recovery outcomes for the city, and identified the tasks and timeframes needed to achieve these outcomes. The recovery tasks and objectives include:

  • Investigating region-specific incentives to drive employment and population growth in Cairns.
  • Unlocking local manufacturing and value-adding of existing supply chains.
  • Neighbourhood-based activities and events that connect people and strengthen communities.
  • Advocacy and lobbying for projects that support the creation of new experiences, infrastructure and jobs such as Wangetti Trail, Cairns Gallery Precinct and Indigenous-led cultural experiences
  • Establishing a pandemic-specific communications plan.
  • Backing research and development for better-integrated social service delivery models and long-term resilience planning.

You can download a two-page summary of the COVID-19 Cairns Local Recovery Plan ( PDF, 1.36 MB ) to find out how you can help and have your say.

The full document - the COVID-19 Cairns Local Recovery Plan ( PDF, 6.21 MB ) - is downloadable as a PDF, or you can read it online below.

Last updated: 30 November 2020