Shops, parks bustling on first day of eased restrictions
THE FIRST day of relaxed COVID-19 regulations saw shopping centres and other public spaces on the Fraser Coast teaming with activity for the first time in weeks.
The Queensland Government relaxed some regulations aimed at slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus on Saturday.
Parking spaces at Stocklands in Hervey Bay were a hot commodity with people flocking to the centre for some non-essential shopping.
Queues formed outside department stores, while people observed social distancing regulations when waiting outside hairdressers to have their lockdown locks trimmed.
Maryborough resident Joanne Wilson said it was good to get out again.
"It means things are improving," she said.
Ms Wilson said the strict regulations put in place by the Chief Health Officer had been hard on kids.
"You don't want them to sit in front of the TV and play video games all day. People are mindful of social distancing which is good," she said.
Hervey Bay local Leah Phillips shared similar sentiments.
"We have a bit of freedom again, some breathing space," she laughed.
She said there were "heaps of people" at the shops but was happy they were still observing social distancing directions.
On the other hand, Sam Muller told the Chronicle she thought the shops would be fuller.
"I had to wait in a queue for 10 minutes to get into Kmart, but it was an easy process," she said.
Susan Wells, a Hervey Bay nurse, used relaxed regulations to get her children some fresh doughnuts.
"To be honest, I thought it would be a lot quieter. With the cold and flu seasons on their way, there is still a lot going on," she said.
Police were stationed at the centre to make sure people played by the rules.
Sergeant Aileen Taylor said shoppers behaved themselves appropriately.
"People have been respectful and observing social distancing regulations," Sgt Taylor said.
The Esplanade was also a hive of activity on Saturday.
People ran along the footpath and picnicked in the parks.
Dundowran couple, Pat and Judy Fearne made the most of Saturday's good weather by having lunch at Ron Beaton Memorial Park in Torquay.
"We've been coming here for years, so it was good to be back again," Mr Fearne said.
"The worst part is not being able to see our family," Mrs Fearne added.
They said the health crisis made them appreciate what is right on their doorstep.
"If you travel the whole of Australia you will battle to find beaches better than what we have here," Mr Fearne said.