Cherbourg enters lockdown in a bid to keep virus out
*These restrictions have since been relaxed*
A CHECKPOINT has been set up on Cherbourg Murgon Rd to stop all unnecessary movement in and out of Cherbourg in an attempt to protect the community from the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, current Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council mayor Arnold Murray explained the checkpoint was part of the Local Disaster Management Group's Pandemic Response Plan.
He also acknowledged the potentially devastating effects the virus could have on the community.
"We must protect everyone from this virus, particularly our elders and people who are already sick," Cr Murray said.
"The LDMG will do this by restricting movement in and out of our community … This will be done by starting a checkpoint on Cherbourg Murgon Road with help from Queensland Health.
"This checkpoint is there to stop all unnecessary movement into and out of Cherbourg (and) will help stop COVID-19 getting into our community."
Mr Arnold said everyone who entered Cherbourg would be required to undergo health screening at the checkpoint.
He said the precautionary measures were "not about keeping people in, it's about keeping the virus out".
"The Australian Government has announced important steps to keep the virus out of indigenous communities," Cr Murray said.
"One of the steps is that if you leave community, you may not be able to get back in.
"This is to help make sure that our community members are not exposed to the virus or a similar illness … Travel will only be allowed for seriously important reasons such as urgent medical matters.
"You will no longer be able to leave the community to go shopping, or for work."
To aid the community during the lockdown period, a temporary store has been established so residents have access to essential food items and other important essentials such as health and medical items.
"All medications that you would usually get from the pharmacy in Murgon or elsewhere will now be available from the Cherbourg Hospital, while access to mail and essential services will be maintained," Cr Murray said.
The mayor stressed how devastating the virus could be on the community.
"COVID-19 is the biggest threat to our community in its history … We understand that these travel restrictions are inconvenient for everyone, however, we need to do this to protect our people," he said.
As of Friday evening, council was still telling residents it was acceptable to go shopping and attend school and appointments in Murgon until further notice.
"You will not be impeded at the checkpoint if you need to travel to Murgon to shop for essential items," their Facebook post said.
"All school movement (buses, teachers, ancillary staff, and parents doing school drop-off and pick-up) will not be impeded by the checkpoint.
"Cherbourg residents can go shopping in Murgon till further notice.
"You will not be impeded at the checkpoint if you need to travel to Murgon to shop for essential items.
"This will remain in effect until after resupply arrangements are up and running here in Cherbourg and a regular distribution cycle has commenced."
As of 11am Monday morning a council spokeswoman confirmed that was still the current situation as of the time being.
"Until there has been a new social media post stating otherwise, then this is this the case," she said.
To stay up to date with further updates and information regarding the lockdown and getting in and out of the community, residents are advised to listen to Our Radio on 94.1 FM, visit the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council site and follow their Facebook page.