UPDATED 12 August 2020:
Since this article was first published, there have been some significant hardenings of borders. Queensland is now closed to all of the ACT and NSW; Tasmania has delayed its border opening; SA has shut out anyone from Victoria, including citizens; and NSW now requires hotel quarantine for those arriving from Victoria.
The problem is that interstate travel restrictions have now becoming fiendishly complicated for passengers, and airlines, to decipher. Most states are at least partially open to some other states, but what is termed a ban can mean different things.
In some cases, this means those who enter must isolate in a hotel while in others, entry is completely barred. WA has even banned its own citizens from entering.
Here, Australian Aviation tries to explain the restrictions in every Australian state.
Please visit the official sites for more detailed information, the latest updates (particularly from so-called hotspots), and directions for any permits or exemptions you might have to apply for.
Despite Victoria technically being fully open, the state is now effectively closed off to the rest of Australia because of bans in every other state. Residents returning from other states don’t have to quarantine at home, but may be subject to other restrictions: Melbourne is in a ‘stage 4’ lockdown that involves a nightly curfew, while the rest of Victoria is in a slightly lighter ‘stage 3’ lockdown. Residents in regional areas can also fly recreationally.
Excluding Victoria, NSW is open to all states. Anyone who wants to enter NSW from Victoria, though, needs to apply for a permit. Residents of NSW can return but will be required to quarantine in a hotel. After a state government U-turn, this will be free until Thursday, 11 September. Anyone who previously paid a charge from 7-12 August can apply to have their money refunded.
The state is closed to all of Victoria, NSW and the ACT, which are designated COVID-19 hostpot areas. Queensland residents from these areas can return but must quarantine at a “government arranged hotel” when they’re back.
WA has the strongest restrictions in Australia and is now closed to everyone, including, crucially, residents who wish to return home, unless they obtain an exemption. Anyone who is able to enter the state is asked to bring their own masks. WA residents returning from abroad are allowed to re-enter the state subject to conditions and having undertaken the usual hotel quarantine.
The ACT’s rules are complex. People who have been in Victoria during the past 14 days are banned from entering the ACT, except for ACT residents and those who have an exemption. Those who arrive must then quarantine at home if possible, or in a hotel if not.
The state government is now advising ACT residents not to travel to Victoria, Greater Sydney or Newcastle. Those who have been in other, select locations identified by NSW health on certain dates must get tested and then self-quarantine for 14 days.
People who have, more generally, been in the Greater Sydney Area or the City of Newcastle are advised not to visit or work in high-risk settings, including aged care facilities, hospitals and correctional facilities, for a period of 14 days after leaving these areas. However, there is no requirement for these people to quarantine.
The territory border is otherwise open.
The territory is now open to most of Australia, except designated hotspot areas, which includes much of Greater Sydney and Melbourne. Australians from these hotspots can enter, though must undertake quarantine at a designated facility that charges $2,500.
The Tasmania border opening has been delayed, and the state will now stay shut until at least 31 August. Tasmanian residents returning home must now self-quarantine for 14 days. Non-Tasmanian residents can enter but must quarantine at government accommodation. Tasmanian residents who have been in Victoria must quarantine at a government facility.
Travellers from Victoria, including South Australian residents, are no longer able to return. Some essential travellers are exempt. Travellers from ACT and NSW, other than essential travellers, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after entering SA and submit for a COVID-19 test twice.
Residents and non-residents from NT, Queensland, Tasmania and WA can enter without restriction.