By Abbey Cannan
With Covid cancelling the classic Schoolies events for graduates this year, Noosa is bound to receive a boost from celebrating school leavers.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young recently designated mass gatherings of young people over multiple days ‘high risk’, which meant organised events including the usual Gold Coast beachfront concerts would be cancelled.
Since the announcement of the cancellation of Schoolies on the Gold Coast, many of our Noosa resorts have received inquiries for Schoolies bookings.
A Tourism Noosa spokesperson said as of late last week Noosa had approximately 500 Schoolies bookings.
“Accommodation operators need to ensure compliance with COVID-19 restrictions and adhere to their Queensland Health’s COVID Safe Industry Plans,“ they said.
The spokesperson said Tourism Noosa would not be supporting any Schoolies Events for Noosa.
“We are planning a campaign for accommodation properties to promote tours and experiences that Schoolies visitors can enjoy during their visit which will also support our tour and experiences operators who have been hit hard due to COVID,“ a spokesperson said.
Tourism Noosa met with Noosa Council, Noosa Police, Red Frogs, Schoolies.com and the Hastings Street Association late last week to discuss potential issues around the annual school leaver period.
“While Tourism Noosa is not supporting Schoolies events, we will continue to liaise with relevant agencies and provide information to operators to help manage this period where possible,“ a spokesperson said.
“Our recommendation to accommodation operators who choose to take Schoolies bookings is to prepare a fact sheet on their house rules to provide at booking or check-in.
“Licensed venues should also be aware that more than half of school leavers this year will be aged 18+ (more than in previous years, due to previous changes in school admissions) and legally allowed to drink in licensed premises. With COVID-19 restrictions, venues are asked to be aware of numbers gathering.“
The Red Frogs organisation which provides free support for school leavers aimed at harm prevention, will have a team based in Noosa, connecting with Schoolies in their rooms and on the street.
“Accommodation operators who are taking Schoolies bookings can register with Red Frogs by contacting email@example.com or phoning 1300 557 123. This is also the 24-hour Red Frog hotline during Schoolies which accommodation managers can call if Schoolies guests need assistance,“ a Tourism Noosa spokesperson said.
Gatherings in residences including holiday units will be limited to no more than 10 people state-wide from November 21 to December 11, with rules for restaurants, pubs and clubs remaining unchanged.