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Coronavirus - latest news

CORONAVIRUS - LATEST NEWS

4 JUNE 3.50PM - COOK SHIRE ENTRY PROTOCOL UPDATE

Cook Shire is a Designated Biosecurity Area, with strict entry restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. There are two categories of entry:

  1. Returning Residents and Exemptions - A person who meets the entry criteria AND who has been approved by the Local Disaster Management Group Chair under advice from the Human Biosecurity Officer and the Emergency Public Health Officer. Applicants may be required to self-isolate within the Designated Area; and
  2. Essential Activity - A person who meets the entry criteria AND who is engaging in or providing an essential activity as per the Determination.

HOW TO ENTER

Returning residents and Exemptions must complete the following steps:

  1. Complete SI-004 Application for Exemption form and return to the Cook Shire Local Disaster Management Group via 
  2. Complete the online border pass; and
  3. If approved, provide individual proof of identity, completed SI-004 form and online border entry pass to the control point.

Essential activity must complete the following steps and take the documents with them to the control point:

  1. Complete the online border pass;
  2. Download and complete the Generic Biosecurity Plan/Risk Management Plan and adopt the principles contained within; 
  3. Provide proof of how they meet the essential activity category as per the Determination, such as letter of employment, contract or work order for essential activities; and
  4. Provide individual proof of identity.
For further information email 

3 JUNE 11.05AM - HAVE YOU DOWNLOADED THE COVIDSAFE APP?

The COVIDSafe app speeds up the Government's manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. This means you’ll be contacted more quickly if you are at risk and reduces the chances of you passing the virus on to your family, friends and others. Health officials can only access app information if someone tests positive and agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded. The health officials can only use the app information to help alert those who may need to quarantine or get tested. For more information on the app, and to download to your Android or Apple device, visit the Australian Government's COVIDSafe webpage.

31 MAY 3.30PM - EASED RESTRICTIONS, CAPE YORK-SPECIFIC UPDATE

While the State Government will ease many restrictions in Queensland from midday, Monday, 1 June, Cape York remains a Designated Biosecurity Area with travel restrictions in place. If you travel outside Cook Shire and wish to come back, you must meet entry requirements and entry is not guaranteed. The State Government has announced a three-stage lifting of Designated Biosecurity Area entry restrictions, with the first to allow those returning to self-isolate in their homes. Stage Three removes the entry restrictions completely, however Council has not been made aware of a timeframe for the implementation of Stage Three. Council and the Cook Shire Local Disaster Management Group will continue working to increase government awareness of the pressure these restrictions are placing on Cape residents, and the urgent need to ease them for medical, economic and social needs.

27 MAY 8.15AM - TRAVEL RESTRICTION UPDATE

The Australian Government has extended the emergency provisions of the Biosecurity Act to September, but travel restrictions for entering the Cape York Designated Biosecurity Area may not be in place until that date. The Queensland Government is working on a plan with councils who are within the Designated Biosecurity Area to enable a staged lifting of restrictions when it is safe to do so, in a way that minimises the risk of COVID-19 for remote communities. The timeframe and restrictions may vary between communities. Community members are currently able to travel up to 150km from their home, for recreational day trips, but if they travel outside their designated biosecurity area they will have to meet quarantine requirements to be able to return. Further information is available on the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships website.

15 MAY 10.53AM - POOL AND LIBRARIES TO OPEN

Council is pleased to be able to welcome patrons back to the Cooktown Pool, Cooktown Library and Bloomfield Library, in line with State Government and Cook Local Disaster Management Group recommendations. The Pool open from Saturday, 16 May, with patrons limited to a maximum of 10. Pool users are also required to maintain social distancing, bring their own pool toys and swimming aids if needed, and must not use the showers. The Pool will be open from 1pm-4pm weekends and 6am-12pm weekdays. The Cooktown Library will open on Monday, 18 May, with patrons limited to a maximum of 10. Computers are also limited, and people are encouraged to bring their own device to connect to WiFi. The Ayton Library will open on Wednesday, 20 May, with patrons also limited to 10, and visitors encouraged to bring their own devices. All activities scheduled for the pool and libraries, such as aqua aerobics, Lego Club and swimming lessons, will not be held at this time. The Cooktown Waterpark, outdoor gym equipment and all Shire playgrounds remain closed.

8 MAY 5PM - PREMIER ANNOUNCES EASING OF RESTRICTIONS

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced from Sunday, 10 May up to five people from a household can visit another household. Distance restrictions have also eased, for VISITING ONLY - people can now travel more than 50km from their home to visit close friends or family. For recreation or other essential reasons, travel must still be within 50km of your home. PLEASE NOTE: entry restrictions to Cook Shire remain in place. Further restrictions will be eased from 15 May - see the Premier's media release here for more details. PLEASE NOTE: Cook Shire is not considered outback. Special considerations have been given to outback areas in the easing of restrictions, however Cook Shire remains a Designated Biosecurity Area and the outback considerations do not apply. To see which areas fall into the outback category, click here.

1 MAY 7.15am - HOME CONFINEMENT FAQs

The Queensland Government has released a Frequently Asked Questions document to help residents understand the home confinement direction. It includes the reasons people may leave their homes, how many people can visit or go out together and more. Click here to see the document.

27 April 4pm - COOK SHIRE ENTRY PROTOCOL

Cook Shire is a Designated Biosecurity Area, with strict entry restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Under the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Emergency Requirements for Remote Communities) Determination 2020, persons are prohibited from entering a Designated Biosecurity Area unless certain conditions apply. All individuals will be screened at vehicle check points and airports prior to entering the declared area.

The legislation can be found here, and Amendment (No. 2) here. 

There are three categories of entry:

  1. Returning Residents - A person who meets the entry criteria AND who has been isolated from the public (self isolated in an approved facility) for 14 days prior to entry;
  2. Essential Activity - A person who meets the entry criteria AND who is engaging in or providing an essential activity; and
  3. Exemption - A person meets the exemption criteria AND has the permission from a Local Disaster Management Group Chair under advice from the Human Biosecurity Officer.

How to enter

Returning residents must complete the following steps:

  1. Complete SI-001 Request for Entry to An Approved Facility form and return to the Cook Shire Local Disaster Management Group via ;
  2. If the request is approved, complete 14 days isolation at the designated hotel;
  3. At the conclusion of the self-isolation period, Queensland Health initiates health screening and a Certificate of Self-Isolation is issued;
  4. A sterile corridor is agreed for the approved individual to travel to airport or vehicle control point and enter Cook Shire; and
  5. Provide individual proof of identity, completed SI-001 form and Certificate of Self Isolation to the control point.

Essential activity must complete the following steps and take the documents with them to the control point:

  1. Complete the Travelling to or through remote communities Essential Service entry pass via the website;
  2. Download and complete the Generic Biosecurity Plan/Risk Management Plan and adopt the principles contained within; 
  3. Provide proof of how you meet the essential activity category under the legislation, such as letter of employment, contract or work order for essential activities; and
  4. Provide individual proof of identity.

Exemption category applicants must complete the following steps:

  1. Complete SI-004 Application for Exemption form and return to the Cook Shire Local Disaster Management Group via 
  2. If approved, the applicant will be asked to complete the Travelling to or through remote communities Exemption entry pass via the website.
  3. Provide individual proof of identity, completed SI-004 form and online border pass to the control point.

17 April 3.15pm - WUJAL WUJAL ENTRY PERMIT TO BE REMOVED

Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council has advised that at their Local Disaster Management Group meeting yesterday it was resolved to close the road check point at Mt Louis Station at 12noon on Sunday 19 April 2020. No permits or approvals will be required after this time for entry into the Bloomfield Valley and Wujal Wujal from Cook Shire. However as per Government COVID-19 regulations, travel should be limited to essential reasons only. For more information please contact Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council.

4 April 9.35am - COUNCIL SERVICE CHANGES

To help prevent the spread of coronavirus in Cook Shire and in line with Government rules, Council has made changes to some of our services, including closing facilities, limiting public interaction and moving other services online.

CLOSED - The Cooktown Pool is closed until further notice. Our pool staff have been redeployed in other areas of Council. The Cooktown Water Park is closed and the water has been turned off. The gym equipment on the Cooktown foreshore must not be used. All Cook Shire playgrounds are also closed.

OPEN - ONLINE/PHONE ONLY - The Cooktown and Bloomfield libraries are closed, but online services are still available. Our library staff are available to answer calls and emails, and some programs such as Interactive Storytime have moved online. Council’s main office at 10 Furneaux Street and depot office at 31 Charlotte Street are closed to visitors, but staff are still working. Please phone 4082 0500 or with any enquiries.

NO CHANGE - Our transfer stations, landfills, remote rubbish cages and recycling skips are still available for use as normal. Scheduled kerbside waste pick ups will continue as usual. Opening hours, locations and a kerbside pick up schedule are available on our website.

2 April 11.10am - BUY LOCAL CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

Many of us are struggling right now, but there is a small choice we can all make to help support each other. Keeping your money in Cook Shire will make a difference to our local businesses. Cook Shire Council has launched a Buy Local campaign and is calling on residents to make the choice to #buylocal and support the regional economy to help keep local people in jobs. 

If you are a Cook Shire business and have adapted to meet the challenges of trading during the pandemic, let us know you’re open for business by your changed services or sending us a Facebook message. Make sure you include your business name, contact details, hours, products on offer and anything else you'd like to share (we love images - take a snap of your products, your staff or your premises and include that too!). Council has temporarily relaxed our policies during this unprecedented crisis and will help you advertise your business through various channels, including social media. Bought a local product recently and loved it? Share a pic with us and tell us why you loved it and where you bought it from - send them in via or Facebook. We also have a range of poster and social media banners, which we encourage everyone to share - head to our Buy Local page for more information on the campaign and to download. 

1 April, 9.45am - CORONAVIRUS APP AVAILABLE

Check out the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app which provides info about how to protect yourself and others, hygiene, social distancing, public gatherings and testing. THE APP CAN ALSO BE USED TO PROVE YOUR WHEREABOUTS DURING SELF ISOLATION. For more information visit the Department of Health website or download from Apple Store or Google Play.

31 March 4.25pm - COUNCIL CUSTOMER SERVICE ONLINE/PHONE ONLY

To help protect community from the spread of coronavirus, Council’s office at 10 Furneaux Street will be closed to visitors from tomorrow, Wednesday 1 April. But we are still working hard, and can answer all your enquiries online by or you can talk to us by phoning 4082 0500. Thank you for your understanding. 

31 March, 12.55pm - TRAVEL RESTRICTION QUARANTINE ACCOMMODATION SUPPORT

Anyone who has been displaced from their home in Cook, Wujal Wujal or Hope Vale shires and is unable to find or afford accommodation to isolate prior to re-entering the shires due to the Federal Government’s travel restrictions can discuss emergency accommodation by phoning the Department of Housing and Public Works 24 hour hotline on 0436 634 148.

31 March, 11.15am - WUJAL WUJAL, AYTON, BLOOMFIELD VALLEY ENTRY PERMIT

PLEASE SEE 17 APRIL UPDATE ABOVE.
Entry to the Wujal Wujal-Ayton-Bloomfield Valley area is restricted to essential services and those people needing to leave and re-enter the area for essential medical treatment or to perform essential services. A Police road check point is in place at Mt Louis Station to control entry. Persons without a permit will be denied entry. This action has been implemented under Section 77 of the Disaster Management Act 2003 (QLD). All enquiries should be directed to the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council on 4083 9100, or an application form can be downloaded here.

30 March, 11.30am - PLAYGROUNDS, BARBECUES, SKATE PARKS, OUTDOOR GYM EQUIPMENT CLOSED

Following the latest advice from the Federal Government, and to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, Council has closed all public playgrounds, barbecues, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment stations in Cook Shire. 

28 March, 4pm - COOK, WUJAL WUJAL AND HOPE VALE SHIRE ENTRY RESTRICTIONS

New Commonwealth legislation to protect the Cape from coronavirus came into force at midnight on 26 March 2020.

The State Government is now controlling the entry process to Cook Shire and other designated areas on Cape York.  The categories for eligibility for entry are contained in this legislation

Please be aware that if you are not conducting an essential activity, as listed in the legislation, you will need to demonstrate you:

  • Have been isolated from the general public for 14 days before entry into the Shire;
  • Have not shown signs and symptoms of coronavirus;
  • You not been exposed to the virus or to someone with symptoms of coronavirus.

Further information from the State is being requested.

The Queensland Police are responsible for strictly assessing eligibility for entry based on the criteria contained in the legislation.  Police will be stationed at the Mt Carbine Control Point on the Mulligan Highway, airports and sea ports. 

This new legislation now overrides the previous application process developed by Cook Shire.  

For further information, call the Queensland Government Helpline on 13 74 68 

26 March, 6.20pm - COEN ACCESS RESTRICTED

Queensland Police have installed a 24 hour police control point south of Coen to further limit Cape York access to essential travel only. Unauthorised travellers will not be permitted to pass and may be sent out of Cook Shire. Entry to Cook Shire remains by permit only, with travel within the Shire for local residents permitted. However the recommendation is to travel only when absolutely necessary, and to stay within your town or suburb. If leaving Cook Shire, you will not be permitted to re-enter without a valid single use entry permit and 14 days prior self-isolation. As soon as further details of the Coen access restrictions become available, Council will provide an update.

25 March, 6.15pm - COOKTOWN POOL, WATER PARK AND SHIRE LIBRARIES CLOSED

Due to government advice and in the best interests of our staff and the community's health, the Cooktown Pool and Water Park will be closed from 6pm today. The Cooktown and Ayton libraries will also be closed from today - however our library staff are still available by phone or email, and our online library services are still running. Head to the library page on our website for more information and to access a great range of online resources including magazines and ebooks!

24 March, 6.30pm - COOK, WUJAL WUJAL AND HOPE VALE SHIRE ENTRY PERMIT 

These permits are no longer required - please refer to the latest news above - 28 March 

24 March, 1.15pm - COOKTOWN EXPO 2020 POSTPONED

Cooktown Expo 2020 will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Cook Shire Council is planning to hold the economy-boosting event next year to help support the region. “We have no option but to shelve our plans for the Expo to be held in July this year,” Cook Shire Council Chief Executive Officer Linda Cardew said. “During the coronavirus pandemic, the health and safety of our Cape York residents is of paramount importance, and holding a large-scale event at this time just is not possible.” But Ms Cardew said plans were already underway to hold the Expo in 2021, with a focus on supporting local and regional communities and businesses and providing economic stimulus. Council will continue to work with suppliers, contractors, businesses and communities involved in the event to renegotiate arrangements for the rescheduled Expo. “Council is also working hard on supporting our residents and businesses during what will be extraordinarily tough times ahead,” Ms Cardew said. “We will be launching a ‘buy local’ campaign in the coming days to do everything we can to help sustain local businesses, and we are enacting our internal business continuity plans to ensure vital services continue to be delivered across our Shire. As one of the largest employers in the region, Council is also committed to ensuring job security for our workforce.” 

22 March, 8pm - CAPE YORK TRAVEL RESTRICTION UPDATE

Further to the earlier information about personal travel on the Cape, additional information is now available following a Cook Shire Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) meeting this afternoon, in conjunction with Wujal Wujal and Hope Vale LDMGs. From 5pm today, Queensland Police Officers are stationed on the Mulligan Highway at Mt Carbine to provide the travelling public with information about access to the Cape and the Bloomfield Track is closed at Emmagen Creek. The LDMG resolved to recommend to the District Disaster Management Group (DDMG) in Cairns that Cook Shire residents may freely return home until 5pm on Wednesday 25 March. As this arrangement is yet to be approved by the State, we suggest that residents return home as quickly as possible. At this time, it not known what further arrangements will apply after 5pm on Wednesday. Additional information will be provided to residents as soon as it comes to hand. Please continue to monitor Council’s Facebook page and website for the latest information and advice about Covid-19 and personal travel on the Cape.

22 March, 10.23am – RESTRICTED ACCESS TO CAPE YORK

Council’s Mayor and CEO have been advised this morning that from 5pm today (Sunday 22 March 2020) the State Government is implementing restricted access to the Cape.
Police will be stationed at various access points to the Shire, in particular on the Mulligan Highway potentially near Mt Carbine or Lakeland to advise on travel restrictions on all non-essential travel to Cape York and Torres Strait. There are currently no restrictions on travel between any communities within Wujal Wujal, Hope Vale and Cook shires.
At this stage Council has no further information, but will continue to be in communication with the State Government agencies and other Councils throughout today and the next few days to develop appropriate procedures.
The implementation is under the control of the State Government and key messaging will be coming from the State.
Council will do all possible to ensure that our communities are advised of all developments as soon as the information is available.

ABN: 45 425 085 688

10 Furneaux Street Cooktown, Qld 4895

Mail: PO Box 3 Cooktown, Qld 4895

Email: mail@cook.qld.gov.au

Phone: (07) 4082 0500

Fax: (07) 4082 0588

Hours: 8.45am-4.45pm Monday to Friday