A Strict New Border Zone Is Being Introduced Between NSW and Victoria
The state is also restricting the entry of Victorians to NSW to "extremely limited purposes".
After first closing its border with Victoria at the beginning of July, then warning residents against travel to and from regional towns in the area, New South Wales is implementing a strict new border zone between the two states.
Announced on Sunday, July 19 and coming into effect from midnight on Tuesday, July 21, the border zone will start at the Murray River — placing tighter restrictions on residents of NSW border towns, as well as on Victorians looking to head north.
As part of a new permit system — which will replace all currently issued permits, as well as any issued between now and the commencement of the border zone, with those needing permits required to reapply — folks living in NSW border towns will only be able to travel to the Victorian side of the border zone for a limited number of reasons. And, if they venture past the zone into the rest of Victoria, they'll be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.
Also, any other NSW resident who crosses the Murray River, otherwise enters Victoria or has been in the state in the past fortnight will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to NSW.
Residents of NSW border towns looking cross into the Victorian section of the zone will only be able to do so for three designated reasons: going to work or attending an education institution (if you can't do so from home), and to obtain medical care, supplies or health services. The same "extremely limited purposes" will apply to Victorian border town inhabitants looking to enter the NSW section of the zone.
Victorians who receive a permit to enter NSW will also need to carry a copy of their permit with them, and produce it when directed — and abide by a number of other conditions. Those entering the state for child access or care arrangements, or freight workers, will need to have their own COVID Safety Plan; critical service workers will have to self-isolate when not providing their critical services; and Victorians will only be able to head to NSW for medical or hospital services if those services are not available in Victoria or can't be accessed remotely.
Announcing the changes, the NSW government reiterated its standard current advice for the state's residents regarding visiting Victoria: "all NSW residents are strongly urged not to travel to Victoria". The tightened border restrictions were revealed on the same day that the NSW government urged the state's inhabitants to avoid non-essential travel in general, as well as non-essential gatherings.
Until the start of July, New South Wales hadn't closed its borders to domestic travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic — and, when it did shut its border with Victoria, it was the first time in 100 years (since 1919 during the Spanish Flu), that the border between the two states has closed.
For more information about the new border restrictions and the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Government website.
Top image: Mulwala Bridge by Yun Huang Yong via Flickr.
Published on July 20, 2020 by Sarah Ward