NSW Will Reopen Its Border with Victoria From November 23
The move comes as Victoria has recorded five consecutive days with zero new COVID-19 cases.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first started spreading across Australia and the country went into lockdown, New South Wales did not close its borders to domestic travellers. But when cases started rising again in Victoria, it first banned Melburnians from hot zone" suburbs, and then closed its border to the entire southern state — for the first time in more than 100 years, since 1919 during the Spanish Flu.
With both Victoria in general and the metropolitan Melbourne area specifically now easing out of the most recent stay-at-home restrictions, and with case numbers low throughout the state, NSW has announced today, Wednesday November 4, that it'll be reopening its border to its southern neighbour. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian advised that "we need to keep moving forward as we live with COVID-19. I have confidence that everyone will continue to work hard to keep everyone safe".
The change will come into effect at 12.01am on Monday, November 23, meaning that Victorians can enter NSW and vice versa from that point onwards (and just in time for both summer holidays and Christmas, too). NSW residents were already permitted to visit Victoria, as Victoria didn't shut its border during its lockdowns; however, NSW's border rules meant that residents were then required to quarantine upon their return — unless they had a special permit, or lived in the strict border zone that also required permits.
Announcing the border reopening, Premier Berejiklian said that the move was based on NSW Health advice — and noted that Victoria "may have, because of the lockdown, actually gone down a path of having eliminated it [COVID-19] at this point in time". Victoria has reported zero new coronavirus cases for the past five days, while NSW has reported 27 over the same period.
Also today, Premier Berejiklian announced that all NSW hospitality venues will be required to use QR codes to track patrons from November 23. "We believe the dual strategy — of opening up our borders to all Australian citizens, all New Zealand citizens, in addition to making use of QR codes compulsory for hospitality businesses — is an important step forward," she advised.
Top image: Mulwala Bridge by Yun Huang Yong via Flickr.
Published on November 04, 2020 by Sarah Ward