What to do if you're on holiday across the border ahead of closure

| 07.07,20. 05:44 PM |

What to do if you're on holiday across the border ahead of closure

The NSW-Victoria border is closing at midnight, and while there are still plenty of question marks about the blockade, some things have become clear.

NSW Police and military personnel will block roads from 12:01am on Wednesday, but NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has conceded the first 72 hours of the closure will need to be flexible.

That's because specific details about who can get an exemption to travel due to "extraordinary circumstances", and exactly how border communities will operate, has not been released.

This is what we know so far.

?Am I eligible for a permit to cross the border
From 12:01am on Wednesday, the only people that will be permitted into NSW are residents returning home, essential workers and people that have "extraordinary circumstances".

Exactly what qualifies as an extraordinary circumstance remains unclear, but authorities have said it will include things like fulfilling a legal obligation, caring for relatives or attending funerals.

Essential workers will include healthcare professionals, law enforcement and defence personnel, and truck drivers — all of whom will not need to self-isolate.

Commissioner Fuller said residents of communities dotted along the border, including Albury-Wodonga, Echuca, Swan Hill and Mildura, will only need to apply for one permit for the duration of the blockade.

An exemption will also be granted to allow people to travel through NSW by road, air or rail, although the only train service between Melbourne and Sydney is not currently operating.

Commissioner Fuller said people would likely be able to apply for permits on the Service NSW website this evening.

?I am on holidays across the border. Should I return home
If you are a NSW resident in Victoria, or a Victorian resident in NSW, you should make your way home before the border closes.

If you are a NSW resident returning from a Melbourne hotspot, you are already required to go into 14 days of self-isolation.

The NSW Government will extend this to anyone returning from Victoria after midnight tonight, and there will be large fines for people who are caught breaking the rules.

According to the Victoria Health website, Victorians currently in NSW do not have to self-isolate when returning to Victoria.

?What happens if I travel via Victoria
If you are returning from a Melbourne hotspot, you must self-isolate for 14 days.

If your flight connects to NSW via Melbourne, or if you drive through Victoria on your way to NSW, you will not need to self-isolate — but there's a catch.

"The public health order does not apply to people who have travelled through a COVID-19 hotspot by road, rail or an airport provided they do not leave the vehicle when they are in the COVID-19 hotspot," NSW Health said.

Commissioner Fuller said although it was strongly discouraged, residents of NSW are permitted to enter Victoria, but would need a permit to get back.

?Will I have to quarantine in a hotel if I cross the border
No. You will not be put into a hotel like a returned overseas traveller.

But you will need to self-isolate for 14 days at a specific address in NSW if you cross the border from Victoria with a permit.

If you enter NSW from Victoria before the border closes, whether you need to self-isolate depends on what part of the state you came from.

Anyone from the greater Melbourne area already needs to self-isolate under new public health orders signed yesterday, however people from other parts of Victoria do not need to do this, as long as they enter NSW before midnight.

Once the border is closed, Commissioner Fuller said everyone from Victoria coming to NSW will need to self-isolate for 14 days, unless they live in a border community "bubble".

?How long will the border be closed for
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said people should expect the border to remain closed for "at least two weeks".

If other states are any guide, it could be much longer than that.

The WA border, for example, has been closed to all other states since April 5.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday said she hoped closing her state's border with Victoria would make it easier for other states to reconsider their stance on the issue, and let people from NSW in.


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