In a welcome economic boost to regional communities after almost two years of disruption, the ACT Government has expanded the border bubble to include the South Coast, Thredbo, Perisher Valley and areas such as Young.
The expansion of the border bubble will come into force at midday today.
The announcement was made early this morning (16 October) following Thursday night’s move by the NSW Government to remove the ACT as a COVID-19-affected area.
In a statement, the ACT Government said the reasons for travelling into these postcodes from the ACT will be aligned with the NSW Government’s approved reasons for travel.
When in NSW, Canberrans must comply with NSW Health directions, which includes the need to be fully vaccinated before travelling and checking in to many venues.
ACT residents travelling beyond these expanded postcodes will have to quarantine for 14 days when they return home. Quarantine may also be required if ACT residents are identified as close contact from an ACT or NSW exposure location.
The full list of approved postcodes is below.
It’s expected that the ACT will now assess further travel arrangements for ACT residents when the next step of the pathway is implemented at the end of this month.
“As we have seen throughout this pandemic, travel restrictions are temporary. As more people get fully vaccinated in regional NSW and the ACT, Canberrans can expect that travel restrictions will be relaxed further,” Chief Minister Barr said in a statement.
“This is a balancing act. Canberrans didn’t go through nine weeks of lockdown only to see a spike in cases. That’s why we are implementing a gradual easing of restrictions, and the same goes for our travel requirements for returning ACT residents.”
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith urged Canberrans to be vigilant if they decide to travel interstate and follow COVID-safe behaviours.
Also interstate, Victoria yesterday overhauled its permit system with the changes to come into effect on Tuesday, 19 October. Now, fully vaccinated people who arrive from orange zones (such as the ACT) will no longer be required to test and isolate until they receive a negative result.
Previously, red zone permits were only available to Victorian residents who had to quarantine for 14 days regardless of vaccination status. All orange zone permit holders had to get tested within 72 hours of entering Victoria and stay isolated until they received a negative result.
At this stage, ACT residents will still require a valid exemption from ACT Health to return from Victoria.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr yesterday asked Canberrans for patience, saying the next few weeks were not the time to be travelling interstate for a “holiday”.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet also announced international travel to NSW would resume for vaccinated travellers from 1 November.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr also waded into the discussion at yesterday’s press conference, saying discussions with NSW and Victoria would need to be undertaken to allow for smooth transit arrangements.
He thinks it unlikely that international flights will arrive directly in the ACT in the coming months at least.
Later in the afternoon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison sought to wrest back control of the country’s international borders, which he said remained the concern of the Commonwealth.
He said that while he welcomed the announcement, the quarantine-free travel would only apply to returning Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members at first.
Original Article published by Lottie Twyford on The RiotACT.