After over three months of locking out interstate visitors to successfully stop the spread of COVID-19, Queensland will reopen its borders at noon today to everyone except visitors from Victoria. But there are still some restrictions for everyone else too.
The sunshine state’s borders will reopen today at noon to every state and territory except Victoria whose residents are temporarily banned from travelling to the state, even if they want to quarantine themselves.
If you’ve been to Victoria in the past 14 days, you also won’t be able to cross the border into Queensland unless you’re a returning Queensland resident. In which case, you’ll have to pay for your own two-week stint in hotel quarantine which is estimated to be $2,000 per person.
Travellers arriving from New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT will only be allowed into the sunshine state after filling out a ‘Queensland Border Declaration Pass‘. You’ll also need a form of identification with your residential address on it (Ie: a utility bill) for good measure.
The same rules apply at airports where passengers will be refused entry to Queensland and sent back home if they attempt to arrive in the state without meeting the requested criteria.
If you make any false claims on the declaration pass, you’ll have to pay a holiday busting $4,004 fine or a court-imposed penalty of $13,345.
Despite the red (or maroon in this case) tape, the news is sweet music to the ears of Queensland’s travel and tourism operators who have been left in the dark and out of pocket since COVID-19 restrictions borders closed on March 25.
That was 15 weeks ago, and not surprisingly, relief is at hand with people all over Australia are itching to get back to some of Queensland’s most significant icons including the Gold and Sunshine Coasts’, Fraser Island, Outback and Far North Queensland including the Great Barrier Reef.
As such, it’s anticipated that road travellers especially will face lengthy delays in the next 48-hours to clear their ID documents and cross the Queensland border with the New South Wales school holidays still only at the halfway stage and holidaymakers keen to catch some winter rays.
The grey nomad brigade has been reportedly camped out at Tweed Heads and other spots just over the border in anticipation of returning to the state they love, especially in the winter months.
So plan ahead and prepare yourself for delays if you are travelling by road. Travelling with kids? Load up the drinks and snacks and don’t forget the phone and Ipad chargers.
Speaking last week at a press conference about the impact of the border reopening, Ms Palaszczuk, said:
“It is never going to be exactly the same. We are in this post-COVID world. So the post-COVID world means until there is a vaccine we have to keep up with the social distancing. We never know when there could be a new case.”
Despite Queensland missing out on the majority of the valuable interstate Winter school holiday period this year, the good news was echoed by David Ryan, Chair of Visit Sunshine Coast who said:
“The decision to open the border with NSW will be really welcomed by the local industry because the situation was looking rather grim for many operators after the school holidays. This is when we normally receive considerable long-stay business – sometimes for up to a month or more – from interstate and New Zealand visitors, and while that will be difficult to reactivate in the short-term, the border announcement send the right signals for airlines to re-introduce direct flights to the Sunshine Coast, and for travellers to start making plans.
“This positive development should not obscure the fact that this has been one of the worst periods for Sunshine Coast tourism in recent decades and even with borders re-opened, recovery will be slow.”
Where will you go now that the borders reopen? www.qld.gov.au
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