DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Michael Kerr has called for Cairns Ironman 2020 to be moved from the busy school holiday period to support local businesses struggling through the impact of COVID-19.

After an unsuccessful appeal to the event organisers, Mayor Kerr has now written to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk requesting urgent support to re-schedule the event and keep the Captain Cook Highway between Cairns and Port Douglas open on Sunday, September 27.

Of the 77 Queensland local government areas, Douglas Shire‘s economy has been the hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions.

Mayor Kerr said many businesses were struggling to make ends meet and trying to salvage what they could from a decimated tourist season.

“The chosen date is totally inappropriate and inconsiderate of our Shire’s economic position with many business owners treating this school holiday period as a make or break situation,” he said.

“The September school holidays is one of the busiest couple of weeks in the calendar year, with the weekends the sweet spot for increased trade in the region.

“The Daintree was effectively closed for the early months of COVID-19 so businesses there will also take a big hit at a time when our tourism, accommodation and hospitality sector has been completely floored.”

Mayor Kerr also raised concerns about the dramatic increase of traffic on the already strained Kuranda and Rex Range roads and increased stress on transfer companies.