More Than 200,000 Australians Are Hoping to Enter Queensland This Week
So, if you're planning to make the trip north — or you're heading home to the Sunshine State — expect plenty of congestion and delays.
After months of discussion and debate, Queensland is reopening its border from Friday, July 10, allowing residents from all Australian states and territories other than Victoria to enter the state for the first time since March. But anyone hoping for a quick trip over the border — whether you're holidaying up north or heading home to the Sunshine State — should expect plenty of company. In fact, more than 200,000 Aussies are planning to make the trek in the next seven days alone.
At a press conference today, Thursday, July 9, Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young advised that the state has already received 238,000 applications for border declaration passes — the permits that anyone entering Queensland from interstate, including Queenslanders returning home, are required to obtain before they'll be allowed across the border. The passes only permit entry into the state within seven days from approval, which means that a hefty amount of people are planning to make the trek within the next week. As Dr Young notes, "that is a lot of people — so that will mean that we'll see congestion and delays".
The huge figure was revealed as Queensland announced significant changes to its border policies, including increasing restrictions on travellers who've been to Victoria in the past 14 days. While, since Friday, July 3, Queensland has required anyone travelling from Victoria, including Queenslanders, to go into forced quarantine for 14 days — in a hotel, at your own expense — it'll now completely ban visitors from Victoria from noon on Friday, July 10, including from both accessing the state and quarantining in the state.
Exemptions will be given "for essential specialist workers, as well as for health, legal or compassionate grounds", but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk advises that "very few exemptions will be granted". Although Queenslanders returning to the state from Victoria will still be able to come home, they'll continue to be required to go into forced quarantine for 14 days, in a hotel, and pay for the costs.
Queensland also revealed that it's implementing new requirements for interstate visitors who develop COVID-19 symptoms while in the state. As announced by Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles, anyone entering Queensland will be required to get tested if they show any signs of the coronavirus within 14 days of arriving in the state — and, to commit to that requirement, you'll have to make a binding declaration to get tested when you apply online for your border pass.
Mobile testing clinics will be set up at popular tourist destinations to help travellers get tested — and anyone who refuses testing will face a $4004 fine.
The testing requirement will also apply to Queenslanders returning to Queensland, with folks in both categories receiving text messages from Queensland Health to ask if they have developed symptoms and remind them that they must get tested.
At the time of the announcement — and at the time of writing this article — Queensland only has two active cases of COVID-19 in the state.
To find out more about Queensland's COVID-19 restrictions, and the status of the coronavirus in the state, visit Queensland's online COVID-19 hub.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
Top image: Tourism and Events Queensland.
Published on July 09, 2020 by Sarah Ward