The Gold Coast and Tweed communities are being assured that they will still be able to cross the borders for work and other essential reasons, ahead of Queensland’s toughest border lock down yet.
Queensland police are scurrying to update the border pass systems in time for 1.00am Saturday, when all of New South Wales and the ACT will be declared ‘hotspots’.
It means anyone travelling from those areas will be barred from entering the state, while Queensland residents will be allowed to return, but will be forced to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at their own cost.
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A new ‘X-pass’ will be made available for those who live on the border, but they will need to provide photo ID to apply for it.
While the ‘F-pass’ will also be introduced for freight drivers.
“If you are not otherwise exempt, so you don’t qualify for the X-pass, the F-pass or the specialist one which is a Chief Health Officer’s exemption pass, if you don’t qualify for them, you’re not going to be allowed into Queensland if you’re coming out of any of the declared hot spots – that’s Victoria, ACT or New South Wales,” State Disaster Coordinator Steve Gollschewski said this morning.
The online application system is expected to be up and running by tomorrow, with all applicants having to provide photo identification as part of the new process.
While details around exactly who can travel where across the borders are yet to be specified, Mr Gollschewski has assured that the border community will largely remain unaffected.
“I haven’t got the exact geographical stuff yet – I don’t want to mislead people, but that will be online.
“So if they’re not certain when they apply, through their address that they put in, it will identify whether they are a cross-border person or not.
“So for instance if you’re living on the Gold Coast and working on the Tweed and having to go back and forth, that will be no issue.
“It’ll be generous enough to make sure that any of those people who live in the border areas, and have genuine needs to go across the border; medical treatment, schooling business, resupply that they’ll be able to do that,” Mr Gollschewski said.
It comes as the Gold Coast border endured more chaos at checkpoints this morning following the border announcement.
Motorists report delays of at least half an hour during peak times, at the M1 and through Tweed/Coolangatta.
State Disaster Coordinator Steve Gollschewski says the delays are completely normal.
“What we are seeing as we expected is an upshot in flows across those borders as we come into the weekend with the new restrictions in place as Queenslanders and others are coming to this state before that comes into effect.
“We are seeing increased quarantine pressures on the hotels that we have and we are adjusting to that.
“Our planning is ready to accommodate that and we expect that increase to happen over the next few days,” Mr Gollschewski said.
Over the last 24 hours, police have reported that 5,374 vehicles were intercepted at the state’s road borders, with 64 people refused entry, and 48 placed into hotel quarantine.
At the airports, 60 additional flights came into the state, with 2,747 passengers checked and 60 placed into seven refused entry.