UPDATED 21 January 2020:
It’s been six weeks since our last update to this article and most states and territories still remain closed to Greater Sydney despite low recent case numbers.
Here, we break down the latest rules. As ever, 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.
Anyone entering Victoria from anywhere in Australia now needs to apply for a permit here. The state’s new traffic light system means that your ability to enter depends on where you’ve travelled from, and whether it’s categorised as red, orange or green.
Those from a red zone cannot enter without an exemption. Those travelling from a designated orange zone must apply for a permit to enter Victoria. You cannot apply for a permit if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, nor if you have visited a red zone. You are allowed to travel through a red zone for the purpose of transit.
Those travelling from a designated green zone must apply for a permit to enter Victoria. You cannot apply for a permit if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, nor if you have visited either a red or orange zone.
Currently, only 10 local government areas (LGAs) of Greater Sydney are in red zone. These are: Blacktown City, Burwood, Canada Bay City, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield City, Inner West, Liverpool City, Parramatta City and Strathfield Municipality.
Victoria has also now declared the LGAs of Greater Brisbane – Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redland, Logan, and Ipswich – to be orange zones.
After arrival though, everyone must observe new ‘COVIDSafe’ summer restrictions, which include carrying a face mask with you when you leave home, and wearing it while on public transport or in “large retail venues”, including shopping centres, supermarkets and department stores.
NSW is open to all states.
Queensland has declared 35 LGAs in NSW as hotspots, meaning only Queensland residents can return and those that do must undertake hotel quarantine.
Otherwise, Queensland is now open to all states and New Zealand. The state reopened to Greater Sydney and Victoria on 1 December, and to South Australia on 12 December.
WA has reinstated its “hard border” with all of NSW, meaning everyone from that state will be turned away. This also applies to anyone who may have been in NSW since 11 December and hasn’t completed 14 days in a lower risk state or territory. WA had only opened to NSW and Victoria on 8 December.
Visitors from Victoria can enter but must home quarantine for 14 days and undertake a COVID test.
Otherwise, the state is now open to the rest of Australia, except SA, where arrivals now have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Should SA remain COVID-free, restrictions could potentially be lifted on Christmas Day.
The ACT only now designates 10 LGAs in Sydney as hotspots and those entering from those areas need to quarantine for 14 days. The ACT is otherwise open.
The NT is currently asking those from nine LGAs in Sydney to undertake hotel quarantine on arrival. Otherwise, the territory is now open to all of Australia, though entrants must fill out a border entry form.
The state has declared many LGAs in Greater Sydney and Brisbane as medium risk areas, meaning all entrants must self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Otherwise, Tasmania is now open to all other states, though all entrants must complete the Tas e-Travel form.
Anyone who has visited a designated hotspot location, detailed here, must self-isolate immediately for 14 days and take COVID testing. This now only includes Greater Sydney, the Central Coast and Wollongong. Otherwise, SA is now open to all other states.