Residents in the Tweed/Gold Coast areas are waking to the toughest border restrictions yet, as the whole of New South Wales goes into lockdown.
Queensland was quick to implement more border-crossing rules in response to the lockdown, which came into effect from 8.00 pm yesterday.
Tweed residents are now subject to the same ‘essential work’ definitions imposed on the rest of the border zone just days ago, which means teachers, childcare workers, hospitality workers, sales representatives and construction workers are not allowed to cross into Queensland anymore.
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The restrictions will remain in place for at least a week at this stage, which will completely divide the border community of Coolangatta/Tweed.
Businesses on the Tweed side are now having to close as part of the lockdown, while any NSW based workers won’t be able to duck over for their Queensland jobs unless it is ‘absolutely essential’.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young insists these rules are absolutely necessary.
“The situation in New South Wales continues to be very concerning,” Dr Young said yesterday afternoon.
“Given the escalation of local restrictions, we have no choice but to put in place a tighter border situation to protect Queenslanders.
“This means anyone who has been to any of the northern NSW local government areas in our established border zone can only come into Queensland for really essential reasons.
“This is the same restriction we have in place for the seven LGAs of Ballina, Brewarrina, Bourke, Byron, Walgett, Lismore and Richmond Valley.
“The reasons to cross the border into Queensland for work will be restricted to essential work. If it’s not absolutely essential, do not cross the border.
“I know this is tough – those living in northern NSW are our close neighbours and they access Queensland for a range of reasons, but right now, that can’t continue until their outbreak gets under control.
“This will be in place for at least seven days, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation.
“I urge Queenslanders to reconsider their need to go to New South Wales at all.
“Importantly, and as we ask all Queenslanders, anyone who has been in northern NSW recently should get tested immediately if they have any symptoms at all, even really mild symptoms.”
Anyone who is deemed essential, which still includes health care workers, freight and defence workers, is being asked to provide evidence that they’re performing essential work when they cross the border.
“This evidence could include, a letter on your employer’s letterhead, your roster or a booked appointment that shows you need to be physically present to perform essential work,” Qld Health’s latest advice reads.
Meantime, no one can enter Queensland from New South Wales for the purposes of a wedding, funeral, exercise or recreational purposes – such as sporting events.
A break down of the rules from Queensland Health yesterday is below, but for further information, visit the Queensland Health website.
- attend permitted work or emergency volunteering
- attend school or childcare – only for children of essential workers. Essential workers can transport their children to attend face to face schooling or to attend a childcare facility
- provide assistance, care or support to a vulnerable person or family member or visit a terminally ill relative
- fulfil an obligation relating to shared parenting, child contact or contact between siblings
- get a COVID-19 test or vaccination
- in an emergency situation
- for safety reasons (to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm, including domestic violence)
- as directed by an emergency officer
- to follow an exemption you have been granted by the Chief Health Officer
- to attend a wedding or funeral
- to exercise
- for recreational purposes, including:
- spectating at professional sporting events
- attending cinemas, theme parks or other tourist experiences.
If you go outside of the New South Wales border zone in New South Wales (or any other COVID-19 hotspot), you will not be able to re-enter Queensland via road and will have to quarantine for 14 days in government arranged accommodation at your own expense when you come home by air.
Essential work includes work that is urgently required for:
- If you go outside of the New South Wales border zone in New South Wales (or any other
- for safety reasons
- for emergency repairs
- that is necessary to maintain essential services and supplies to the community, or part of the community.
- a medical practitioner or other prescribed health practitioner (including at residential aged care facilities, disability accommodation services and aged care or NDIS supports provided to a person’s home)
- an emergency health services or emergency services worker
- national defence, state security or police worker
- a freight or logistics operator
- an emergency infrastructure worker
- air crew or maritime crew
- an emergency volunteer
- a disaster management worker
- a critical infrastructure worker
- a tradesperson or construction worker for essential or emergency construction or repairs only
- an emergency volunteer, volunteering for any community or government welfare, social, safety, emergency or disaster service.
- anyone who can perform their work remotely, at home
- childcare workers
- hospitality workers
- sales representatives
- commercial construction workers on non-critical projects.