Queensland closes its border to NSW and the ACT
Millions of Australians are now locked out of Queensland.
Hard border closures with NSW and the ACT came into effect at 1am today and authorities have warned those who are crossing into the state there will be delays.
"I can guarantee everyone that we will enforce the new system and everyone will get stopped as of 1am until we can catch up with that system," Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said.
Those trying to get into the Sunshine state will need to apply online for new passes to be waived through.
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The hard border closures are considered Queensland's "best hope" of avoiding a second wave with reports of no new community transmissions in the state for the last five consecutive days.
Border towns will have a special bubble for those living in NSW but living in Queensland or vice versa. This means you can cross freely but no further north or south outside that bubble.
"It means a lot of inconvenience for a lot of people, I understand that," Dr Jeanette Young, Queensland's Chief Health Officer.
Here's everything you need to know about Queensland's border closure:
When does the border closure start and who does it apply to?
From 1am Saturday, anyone from NSW, the ACT or Victoria will be unable to travel to Queensland.
The only exceptions are:
- a Queensland resident returning home who will be subject to government directed quarantine
- a person entering to perform an essential activity listed in the relevant Chief Health Officer's Direction
- a person listed in other limited categories including freight and compassionate grounds however these are subject to strict conditions and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Queenslanders currently in NSW or the ACT have been warned to be back in the state by 1am on Saturday or face the consequences.
"If they're not, they will have to come into Queensland by air and undergo 14 day quarantine at their own expense," Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said.
What is the border bubble and what does it mean for those living there?
Queensland police have announced a 'border bubble' consisting of anyone in the Tweed Head Shire and Gold Coast council areas.
Anyone living within the bubble will be able to access a special pass to cross the border for "any reason whatsoever".
People will have to provide evidence of their address in order to access the pass.
"There will very few people allowed to cross the border," Superintendent Wheeler said.
"We have to remember this is hard closure… other exemptions will be few and far between."
When will people able to access the pass?
Police are hoping to have online systems available for people to access their border passes by this afternoon.
"If not, we will have an interim measure at checkpoints," he said.
How can I access a border pass?
There are different border passes for different entry exemptions.
If you are not travelling to Queensland for essential reasons you must complete a general declaration pass.
If you are travelling for essential reasons, you must complete an essential activity declaration pass.
Do I have to complete a hotel quarantine?
Even if you are a Queensland resident, you will still need to undergo a hotel quarantine period at your own expense if you visit a COVID-19 hotspot.
You will have to quarantine in all of the following scenarios:
- have been overseas in the last 14 days
- have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- have been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days (and are allowed to enter Queensland)
- have COVID-19 or have had COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- have had COVID-19 symptoms in the last 14 days.
What is the penalty for having an invalid border pass?
Those who fails to provide a valid border pass will be turned away at the border. Anyone who attempts to cross the order without a valid pass or breaches quarantine requirements can be issued an on the spot fine of $1334, a court-imposed penalty of up to $13,345 or 6 months imprisonment.
In addition, if you provide false, misleading or incorrect information on a Border Declaration Pass it is an offence punishable by a fine of $4,004.
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