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.

NOTE: On 4 October, the Queensland Government made further change to its roadmap for easing of restrictions indicating when limits on gatherings, events and border closures will be further eased.

Council services, venues and facilities

Effective 4pm on 4 October limits on gatherings in homes and public spaces have been lifted to 40 people.

Council services, venues and facilities:

  • Indoor facilities operate under the one person per four metre square rule
  • Gatherings are limited to 40 people at community halls for general bookings. Larger bookings accepted with an approved Queensland Health COVID Safe Plan/Checklist.
  • Gatherings are limited to 40 people at outdoor facilities (eg parks and playground).
  • Residents should adhere to physical distancing by maintaining 1.5m from other people where practical

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


Coronavirus case numbers are provided by the Queensland Government.

There have been 33 confirmed positive cases to date.

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

Update 15 October: one new positive case has been confirmed in Cairns. The person is an overseas traveller and has been in quarantine since arrival.

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 in North Cairns (appointment needed).

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 Friday 16 October.

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, be vigilant of 100-person limits 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
  • Classes capped at 100 people; operating under a COVID-Safe industry plan
  • Participants must provide personal details for contact tracing purposes
Barlow Park OPEN 
Basketball courts (public) OPEN

Gatherings limited to 40 people within a group.

BMX tracks OPEN

Gatherings limited to 40 people within a group.



Gatherings limited to 40 people within a group.

Beaches OPEN

Beaches and Council facilities on the foreshore are open for recreational purposes (swimming, exercising, picnics, barbecues etc). Social distancing rules apply; maximum 40 people per gathering.


Gatherings limited to 40 people within a group.

Buy Back Shop OPEN  

All public facilities on the Cairns Esplanade are OPEN.

Social distancing rules apply: maximum 40 people in a group.

  • Capacity limits according to one person per four metres square rule
  • Users must provide personal details for contact tracing purposes
Cairns Performing Arts Centre RE-OPENING 11 JULY WITH RESTRICTIONS

Live performances from 11 July. Audience numbers limited to comply with Queensland Government Stage 3 Covid guidelines. Tickets from Ticketlink.

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* - OPEN

*Capacity capped to ensure social distancing can be maintained.


Funerals attendance restrictions apply as set by the Queensland Government.

Maximum of 100 people excluding celebrant/clergy and staff


Council is accepting hall hire bookings for groups up to 40 people.

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 limited to a maximum of 40 people within a group.

Green Space Our Place volunteers program

Lake Morris OPEN  
Lagoon OPEN

Gatherings limited to 40 people in the parklands; 40 people per section in the Lagoon

Markets VARIED
  • Esplanade Markets - CANCELLED
  • Tanks Markets - OPEN with social distancing rules in place
Muddy’s Playground OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS Gatherings limited to a maximum of 40 people within a group.
Munro Martin Parklands OPEN

Gatherings limited to a maximum of 40 people within a group.

Playgrounds OPEN

Gatherings limited to a maximum of 40 people within a group.

Public drinking water facilities OPEN  
Public toilets OPEN  
Recreation areas: (beaches, parklands and natural areas not within National Parks) OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS
  • Gatherings limited to a maximum of 40 people within a group.
  • Barbecue facilities - open
  • Toilet facilities - open
Recreation areas within National Parks OPEN  
Skate parks OPEN

Gatherings limited to a maximum of 40 people within a group.

Swimming pools VARIED
  • Babinda pool - CLOSED for winter
  • Gordonvale pool - OPEN with restrictions
  • Woree pool - OPEN with restrictions
  • Tobruk Memorial Pool - OPEN with restrictions
  • Marlin Coast (Smithfield) pool - OPEN with restrictions
  • Sugarworld Adventure Park - OPEN (see website for times)

Performances have recommenced under a COVID safe plan.

Check the CPAC and 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. Social distancing applies. Gatherings limited to maximum 40 people in a group.

Movement and gatherings

On 16 October, the Queensland Government released an updated roadmap to easing restrictions indicating when limits on gatherings, weddings and outdoor events will be relaxed further and a timeline for opening the New South Wales border.

Easing of restrictions

Current restrictions (effective 16 October)

Family, friends and community

  • Private gatherings (eg at home), maximum 40 people
  • Outdoor gatherings, maximum 40 people
  • Weddings and funerals, maximum 100 people
  • Museums, art galleries, libraries and historic sites, 1 person per 4m2
  • Sport, recreation and fitness organisations can operate under a COVID Safe Industry Plan

Business and economy 

  • Venues more than 200m2: businesses can have 1 person per 4m2
  • Venues below 200m2: businesses can have 1 person per 2m2 up to 50 people at a time
  • For outdoor dining areas: one customer per 2m2

More information

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 anyone from Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

The border is closed to non-Queensland residents who have been in a hot spot* in the past 14 days. 

Current hot spots:

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, unless they can prove that they have been in quarantine for the 14 days prior to entry.

Quarantine costs:

  • $2,800 for 1 adult
  • $3,710 for 2 adults
  • $4,620 for 2 adults and 2 children.

Anyone entering Queensland, including Queensland residents, will need a Queensland Border Declaration Pass. This includes agreeing to get tested for COVID-19 if you develop any symptoms within 14 days of arrival.

More information

Travel to remote communities

All intrastate travel restrictions, including entry and quarantine requirements, have been removed from all of Queensland’s remote communities.

Staying home, movement and gatherings

Eased restrictions from 11 May:

People can leave their principal place of residence to attend:

  • community kindergarten, Prep, Year 1, Year 11 or Year 12 of schooling;
  • Years 2 to 10 of schooling if schooling cannot reasonably be provided from home e.g. children of essential workers.

Eased restrictions effective from 10 May:

  • you are allowed to leave your house to visit someone else at their house.  Households can have two visitors from the same or different households, or up to five visitors from the same household, regardless of how many people live there.
  • Travel advice regarding Mother's Day is contained in the Queensland Government's A message to Queenslanders this Mother's Day

Eased restrictions effective from 2 May:

Residents may travel for recreation purposes within a 50km radius of their principal place of residence. People may conduct these activities with members of their immediate household (people who normally live together) or as an individual with one other person.

Activities that will be permitted include:

  • Go for a picnic (as a household or as an individual with friend)
  • Visit a national park
  • Drive a car, ride a motorbike, jet ski, go boating or other vehicle for pleasure
  • Teach someone in your household how to drive
  • Shop for non-essentials as long as you maintain a 1.5 metre distance

Essential goods and services

You are able to leave the house to obtain essential goods and services, which is limited to those goods and services needed for the necessities of life and operation of our society.

  • To obtain essential goods and services
  • Receive medical treatment, health care or social services including employment services, domestic and family violence services, and child protection services
  • Exercise (with one other person, or members of your family)
  • Do work or volunteering that is essential and cannot be done from home (this is any type of work that is not restricted under the latest ‘non-essential business activity and undertaking closure’ direction)
  • Visit another person’s house (visitor limits apply)
  • Visit a terminally ill relative or attend a funeral (funeral attendance limits apply)
  • Assist, care for or support immediate family members
  • Attend Court or tribunal or comply with a Court or tribunal order
  • Attend a childcare facility, school, university, or other educational institution to receive instruction that is not possible to receive at home
  • Assist with an investigation by police or other law enforcement authority
  • All shared custody arrangements of children under 18 years of age, whether informal or court-ordered, can continue as normal. You are allowed to leave the house to take children from one parent’s home to the other parent’s home
  • To avoid illness, injury or the risk of harm
  • To comply with directions of a government agency
  • To donate blood

If you need to go out, maintain a 1.5m distance from other people wherever practical.

People in the following at-risk groups are encouraged to stay home as much as practical for their own protection. It is also strongly discouraged to visit people in these groups.

  • People aged 70 or over
  • People aged 60 or over with a chronic illness
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 with a chronic illness

More information


The following fines apply to breaches of home quarantine and social distancing breaches.

If a person does not comply with quarantine directions, penalties of up to $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations may apply.

Police can also issue on the spot fines of $1334.50 for individuals and $6,672.50 for corporations which fail to abide by the health directions.

Home Medicines Service

The Home Medicines Service is a temporary program for people in home isolation and for vulnerable patient groups who wish to limit their potential exposure to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community. It provides home delivery of medicines from any pharmacy approved to dispense and supply Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) medicines.

You can order other items to be delivered to you from the pharmacy, if it is part of the same order.  This includes over-the-counter painkillers, tissues and hand sanitizers - but these must be combined in a single delivery with one or more PBS/RPBS medicines.

The Home Medicines Service provides for one, no-cost delivery per month.  If you need more than one delivery per month, your pharmacy may charge a fee.

  • Speak directly to your pharmacist about ordering your medicines, delivery times, urgent medicine needs and any other questions you have about the Home Medicines Service.
  • Visit the Pharmacy Programs Administrator website for more on the Home Medicines Service including eligibility and consent.

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.

Event Organisers need to:

1. Determine if the event is governed by an approved COVID Safe Industry, Site-Specific or Professional Sporting Code Plan, which serves as the primary plan for the event.

2. Determine where a ratio of four square metre per person can be maintained across the event site at all times.

3. Determine if the event requires approval from the Queensland Government or whether it can proceed based on adherence to the COVID Safe Event Checklist.

How to obtain event approval

Events with less than 500 people on site at any given time require approval from Council but do not require approval from Queensland Health as long as the event follows the COVID Safe Event Checklist.

Events with 500 – 10,000 people on site at any given time require approval from Council and approval of a COVID Safe Event Plan by a Queensland Public Health Unit.

Events of over 10,000 people on any site at any given time require approval from Council as well as approval of a COVID Safe Event Plan by the Queensland Chief Health Officer.

Council request that all COVID Safe Event Checklists and COVID Safe Event Plans are provided to Council prior to submitting for approval. 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, 5.35 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: 16 October 2020