The way David Hammon looks at it, tourists have long been practising social distancing while climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Social distancing will also be here to stay for some time, limiting the number of customers a business will be able to serve.
“Can you open up a restaurant with social distancing and cover your overheads? If you have a theatre and can only have a quarter of the usual people in it, how viable is that?” Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond said.
“The government is going to be really careful about crowd numbers.”
TTF estimates the economic shutdown is costing the industry $9 billion a month and chief executives of the lobby group’s members will meet next week in clusters tourism operators, cultural and iconic venues, public transport and aviation to work out how businesses emerge from hibernation.
“No one has a blueprint on how to do this,” Ms Osmond said, adding the industry would look at what forms a “recovery stimulus” from the government should take in addition to the “survival stimulus” it has provided now.
The industry anticipates a gradual approach will be taken to business reopenings and travel patterns.
“The first stage is going to be anti-cabin fever art galleries, theatres, pubs and clubs so that people can get out of the house and start getting a sense of normality,” Ms Osmond said.
After that, people will start venturing to intrastate holiday homes and tourist towns. Interstate travel will follow next. With globetrotting on hold for months, Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham this week flagged a push to encourage Australians to “holiday at home”.
“It’s the year of the great Aussie bucket list,” was how Ms Osmond put it.
Mr Hammon, whose business interests also include Scenic World in the Blue Mountains, has heeded Scott Morrison’s advice that restrictions were likely to be in force for six months in his planning about reopening.
He is eyeing off the October school holidays to reopen his attractions but acknowledges the need to consider a range of factors.
With stood down and retrenched workers eating into their annual leave balances, that means many people won’t be able to take time off. That could see him operate on fewer days.
Mr Hammon said businesses would need to “reverse engineer” whether it was worthwhile opening by working out the revenue they can generate and operating costs based on the maximum number of visitors allowed under social distancing.
“All we can do is have our plans, get the rule book, read it and off we go,” he said.
Mr Hammon also wants to be sure the virus is contained and there is no risk of a second wave of infections.
“The trap for the likes of us is we don’t want to open and then close down again because it is really difficult on the staff and staff culture,” he said.
Based on past crisis points for the tourism industry like the global financial crisis, Mr Hammon expects that locals will be able to fill a lot of the gap left by the lack of international visitors, noting the low value of the Australian dollar will make overseas travel, when allowed, expensive.
“With lots of people working from home, does it change people’s priorities, are they happy to get out and spend time with their family and make memories, in which case we have attractions to do that,” he said.
He anticipates when the borders reopen, visitors will initially be limited to those from countries where infection rates have been low, like Singapore or South Korea.
“Australia’s response to the virus has been pretty good and we will be perceived as a safe destination,” he said.
“Overseas visitors will come back but to get back to the numbers we saw before it’s a three- to five-year window away.”
North Queensland, which attracts three million tourists a year, has been devastated by the downturn, with more than 7600 workers either stood down or retrenched.
But industry association Tourism Tropical North Queensland is already planting seeds and will market self-drive holidays once restrictions are eased.
“During this time our team has been delivering social media content to encourage people to dream about visiting Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, and to imagine the positive role that travel can play in the future chief executive Mark Olsen said.
Once the world has this pandemic under control people want to see a world of travel that will respond to their new outlook on the world and life itself.”