As of Wednesday 8 July, the state border between Victoria and New South Wales has closed to all non-essential travel for residents in both states. Here’s what you need to know.
The border closure decision was made on Monday following talks between the state premiers and Prime Minister Scott Morrison due to continued COVID-19 outbreaks in Melbourne hotspots.
This is the first-time the New South Wales border has been closed since COVID-19 began in Australia in early March, and indeed the first time the border has been closed for 100 years.
Yesterday, the border closure was followed up with Victorian state premier Daniel Andrews announcing that metropolitan Melbourne would enter into a second lockdown for six weeks beginning today.
What does the closure mean for travellers wanting to cross the border?
The border closure will be enforced on the NSW side and will include all road crossings (totalling 55) as well as flights between Victoria and New South Wales and rail stations.
- There will be an ‘essential travel’ permit system for NSW and VIC residents who live on each side of the border with details to be announced before the closure comes into effect tonight.
- Service NSW says they will have online applications available for cross-border travel exemptions for residents from VIC and NSW from tonight.
- Residents from New South Wales and Victoria were urged yesterday NOT to travel across the border before the border closes tonight.
- For the first 72 hours, some grace will be given to returning travellers on both sides of the border. Given the announcement has come in the middle of the Winter school holiday break for both New South Wales and Victoria, many families are currently holidaying across the border on both sides and will need to get home.
- NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says anyone who is given an exemption to travel to NSW will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Qantas and Jetstar are significantly reducing the number of flights to and from Melbourne saying they will continue to “operate limited flights for essential travel only”. Impacted customers are being told the airlines will contact them.
- Virgin Australia said it would be reviewing its flight schedule but would waive change fees for any bookings made up until the end of September.
- There will be no rail connections from Melbourne to Sydney or vice versa.
- There will be fines of up to $11,000 and six months in jail for those breaching the law with drones and police patrolling the border.
The border closure has delivered more bad news for tourism operators in New South Wales and Victoria with many already seeing cancellations from forward bookings. Many are in bushfire affected communities that had planned on the Winter school holiday break as the beginning of a long road back.
To stay on top of government restrictions and what you can and can’t do in each state, click here.
For all the current border restrictions and reopening dates, click here.
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