Diamantina Shire Council has appealed for visitors to stay away from its remote western Queensland shire including Birdsville and Bedourie for the remainder of 2020.
In a statement released Tuesday, Council said its Local Disaster Management Group has been activated and has 'Stood up' in response to COVID-19.
Council said its focus was on the health and safety of residents and they were following the guidelines set out by the Prime Minister and Queensland Government by closing council facilities, stopping non-essential staff travel outside the shire and rescheduling non-essential visits by contractors.
"All tourists who are still planning a trip to Birdsville or Bedourie are strongly requested to cancel these plans for 2020," Council said.
"Please follow the direction of the Prime Minister to cancel all non-essential travel. The desert crossing west of Birdsville is closed indefinitely, the Birdsville Bakery is closed, you can't have a beer at the front bar of the Birdsville Hotel."
Council said its small local events have been cancelled and it means the Big Red Bash will now have to be cancelled also, though they have delayed a decision to April 24.
"We love you, but we will love you even more when you visit in 2021," Council said.
"Birdsville or Bedourie is not the place for you to wait out COVID-19. We are essentially closed for business."
Diamantina Council said its local health clinics were designed for its normal small local population.
"We don't have the sophisticated health care system to cope with an outbreak of COVID-19," it said.
"Please stay home. If you are on your way, turn around and go home."
Council will close the Birdsville Lodge and Bedourie Caravan Park indefinitely.
If tourists continue to ignore the rules around non-essential travel, Council may have no choice but to close the Birdsville Tourist Park and ban camping on the town common.
"We are putting the health of our community first this year, and we don't apologise for that," they said.
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