In what is massive news for travel and tourism, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced that from November 1, domestic and international travellers will not have to quarantine or isolate upon arrival in the state.
Hold the phone, This is huge.
The NSW home-quarantine trials have been ditched.
As of November 1, all domestic and international arrivals into New South Wales will not need to quarantine at all.
Citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families will be the only people allowed to enter the country under the new arrangements.
The definition of immediate family will be expanded to include parents, rather than just partners and children.
This means that once Australia’s international border reopens, scheduled to be in mid-November, NSW residents will be able to depart and return freely, and quarantine-free.
The milestone moment also signifies that the estimated 40,000 plus Australian residents still stranded overseas will also be able to return home as all arrival caps will be lifted.
To enter Australia via New South Wales, travellers from around the world will need to be fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 on departure from their destination and arrival in NSW.
NSW is the first state in the country, working with the Commonwealth, to announce it will open up to travellers from overseas and scrap quarantine rules.
“For double vaccinated people around the world, Sydney (and) NSW is open for business,” Mr Perrottet said on Friday.
“We want people back.”
“I’ve had numerous discussions with the prime minister over the course of this period about dispensing with hotel quarantine – they support this policy,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“They will need to implement it from a border perspective and we want tourists back into the state as quickly as possible.”
Mr Perrottet said he could not control other states’ quarantine requirements but urged overseas travellers to spend time in Sydney if they needed to.
“If you’re a returning Australian and you want to come here, stay in New South Wales and stay in Sydney,” he said.
“Have a great time here before you go home and spend up big.”
Scott Morrison also threw his support behind the NSW government’s shock decision to scrap isolation requirements from November 1.
While Premier Dominic Perrottet raised the prospect of tourists returning to Australia, the prime minister knocked that on the head.
“We are not opening up to everyone coming back to Australia at the moment,” Mr Morrison told reporters.
Overseas travel in and out of Sydney is increasingly likely to be allowed before some interstate and regional trips across Australia.
The premier also confirmed restrictions will ease further across NSW from Monday, a week after the first phase of the state’s exit from lockdown began, but Sydneysiders will be unable to travel to the regions.
NSW will hit 80 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage, likely by Saturday, which will prompt changes to a raft of restrictions.
NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole confirmed the decision to delay travel to the regions until November 1 had been taken because of the risk to communities where vaccination rates lag behind the cities.
Delaying local travel was necessary to protect communities from a virus outbreak because only 36 per cent of regional local government areas have populations where 80 per cent are double vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We have to make sure that there is a balance between protecting communities and opening up,” Mr Toole said.
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