Livelihoods threatened by coronavirus rumours
VICIOUS rumours have been spreading like wildfire through border towns, where frightened residents are convinced accommodation providers are filled with hordes of quarantined travellers.
The falsehoods could not have come at a worse time for local businesses, who have already suffered significant financial losses due to the coronavirus-related restrictions.
Jeff Banfield, owner of Country Roads Motor Inn in Goondiwindi, was targeted by one such rumour this week.
"I was talking to some local people I know when they told me how people in Goondiwindi were gossiping, saying I was full up with travellers," Mr Banfield said.
"It was completely false, and it could scare off any of my potential guests.
"It hurts any kind of business to spread vicious rumours, and we're quiet already."
Public sentiment against interstate travellers is mounting across southern Queensland after a 25-year-old man escaped from quarantine in a Toowoomba hotel on Wednesday. He later handed himself in to police.
The Country Roads Motor Inn has received a number of phone calls from travellers trying to find a place to isolate, but Mr Banfield simply isn't interested.
For one, many believe the government will pay for the accommodation "which simply isn't the case", but Mr Banfield also has a vested interest in playing it safe for the wellbeing of the community.
The motor inn does accept Queensland health workers wishing to isolate from their families, however this is conducted under stringent government regulations.
"But we're a big, well spread-out space, so if everyone does what they're supposed to do hopefully we'll all survive this together."