‘No choice’: Owner’s 1660km mercy dash to keep shop open


THE border closure has forced a Gold Coast newsagent to shut up shop and make an extraordinary 1660km air and road trip to quarantine in Brisbane so he can reopen.

Barrie Parmenter lives less than 60km from his Currumbin Waters newsagency on the southern Glitter Strip.

But his home at Mullumbimby is just outside the Tweed-Gold Coast ‘border bubble’ created by the Palaszczuk Government when it shut the state to NSW and ACT residents on August 8.

Mr Parmenter was effectively locked out of his newsagency and had to close the doors as he battled unsuccessfully for an exemption.

Barry Parmenter in hotel quarantine in Brisbane. Picture: Liam Kidston

Barry Parmenter in hotel quarantine in Brisbane. Picture: Liam Kidston


In desperation, he drove to Ballina, caught a flight to Sydney and then flew back to Brisbane to start 14 days’ quarantine in the city’s Next Hotel so he can get back in business.

Mr Parmenter, who has owned the Currumbin Fair newsagency for 20 years, said he thought his business qualified as an essential service but was caught out when the border closed.

“It closed at 1am on the Saturday and I got to the border checkpoint at 5am so I could open my shop, but the police told me I lived outside the bubble and wouldn’t let me through,” he said.

“My wife and I run the newsagency ourselves – we don’t have any staff – so we had to close the bloody business.”

Mr Parmenter said he applied twice to get an exemption but heard nothing and was forced to take drastic action ‘or go broke’.

“I drove to Ballina, flew to Sydney and then to Brisbane where I’m now in quarantine,” he said.

“When I get out, I’ll have to live with my daughter at Eagleby (near Beenleigh) so I can keep the business open. It cost over $3000 for the flights and hotel but I didn’t have much choice.

“I had to leave the wife behind because we couldn’t afford for the both of us to go. I don’t know when I’ll see her again.”



Mr Parmenter, 69, said he suffered from health conditions including sleep apnoea and was not enjoying quarantine in the Next Hotel, which has been slammed by quarantine guests for poor-quality food.

“The food is less than average,’ he said.

Mr Parmenter said while Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was ‘on the right track’ with keeping COVID contained, the border closure was ‘bloody overkill’.

“So many people live south of the bubble and work in Queensland,” he said.

“She should have extended it down to Coffs Harbour. My situation is only monetary but there are health workers dealing with life and death who can’t cross the border. ”

Originally published as ‘No choice’: Owner’s 1660km mercy dash to keep shop open

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