30 March 2021
This resource explains the basis for, and extent of, the COVID-19-related restrictions in Queensland as at 4 January 2021.
On 29 January 2020, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19 under the Public Health Act 2005 (QLD) (the Act). This Public Health Emergency has been extended to respond to COVID-19 and ends on 31 March 2021.
Further Public Health Emergency declarations may be made for further periods of 90 days if the public health risk continues.
A Public Health Emergency declaration gives the Queensland Chief Health Officer broad powers to assist in containing or responding to the spread of COVID-19 in the community by:
The Public Health Emergency declaration allows the Queensland Government to use new powers added to the Act to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
During the Public Health Emergency, Emergency Officers have broad powers to do whatever is necessary to assist in containing or to responding to the spread of COVID-19 within the community (Emergency and Public Health Powers). These powers are extensive.
They include the power to:
Emergency Officers who are medical doctors have additional powers. These include the power to:
Only Emergency Officers appointed by the Chief Executive may exercise the Emergency and Public Health Powers. Public servants, health service employees, local government employees and SES members can all be appointed as Emergency Officers — as can anyone specified by the Chief Executive.
Emergency Officers must:
Refusing or failing to comply with a direction given under the Emergency and Public Health Powers, without a reasonable excuse, could cause a fine.
At the time of publication, the Emergency and Public Health Powers have been used to:
See the linked Queensland Government’s explanations of these directions for further details.
These directions have all been made under the Queensland Chief Health Officer’s power to give directs to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.
If you are a community organisation, find out about how these restrictions impact your duties to employees and volunteers.
There are additional restrictions made through Federal Government powers. To understand those restrictions, see our Federal Government resource.
Refusing or failing to comply with a direction under the Emergency and Public Health Powers, without a reasonable excuse, could result in a fine of around $13,345.
If you receive a fine, you may choose to seek legal advice. You may have a defence if there was a reasonable reason for you being unable to follow the instruction.
What to do if you or your family receive directions under the Emergency Powers
If you or your family are directed to do something using the Emergency Powers, you can get legal advice through Justice Connect.
If you have a legal problem related to COVID-19, apply for free legal help from Justice Connect.
 Public Health (Further Extension of Declared Public Health Emergency – COVID-19) Regulation (No. 6) 2020, made under the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) (the Act) s 320, 323(1).
 The Act s 323.
 The Act s 362B(2).
 The Act Part 7A
 The Act Chapter 8, Part 7, Division 6; Chapter 8, Part 7A.
 A full list can be found in the Act, Chapter 8, Part 6, see particularly s 345(1).
 The Act Chapter 8, Part 7.
 The Act, Chapter 8, Part 6, 7 & 7A.
 The Act s 333.
 The Act s 342. (N.B. That if the Emergency Officer is a police officer in uniform, they must instead state their name, rank and station before exercising a power under the Act, unless it is impractical to do so.)
 The Act s 344.
 The Act s 351.
 The Act ss 346 and 362J.
 School and Early Childhood Service Exclusion Direction, 29 March 2020.
 Quarantine for International Arrivals Direction (No 7), 20 March 2021.
 Self-isolation for Diagnosed Cases of COVID-19 Direction (No 4), 26 October 2020.
 Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No 16), 13 March 2021.