UPDATED 25 October
With many states finally gearing up to ease their state border restrictions in the coming weeks – with the notable exception of Western Australia – it’s high time we released an update on the current state of play.
Thanks to Australia’s fast-paced and well-received vaccination rollout that has blown the likes of the US and UK out of the water, most Australians will be able to reunite with loved ones across state lines in time for Christmas and book their long-awaited summer holiday trips.
As ever, please visit the official sites for more detailed information and the latest updates.
While anyone entering into Victoria from interstate still need to apply for a permit, as of 25 October, nearly the entire country – apart from Greater Sydney and Canberra – falls into the ‘green zone’ category.
Travellers from a green zone are allowed to enter, with the appropriate permit, with no testing or quarantine requirements.
Meanwhile, Sydney and Canberra are now categorised as ‘orange zones’.
Fully vaccinated travellers entering from an orange zone will also be allowed to enter Victoria without testing or quarantine requirements, while non-vaccinated travellers from an orange zone will need to isolate upon arrival in Victoria, get a COVID-19 test, and isolate until a negative result.
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While nowhere in Victoria is currently considered a ‘red zone’, the Victorian government announced earlier this month that fully vaccinated travellers from red zones will be allowed to enter the state, provided they return a negative result from a test taken no more than 72 hours prior to entry.
Once they enter, they must isolate, get tested again within 72 hours, and stay isolated until they get a negative result.
Victoria achieved its 70 per cent vaccination target on 22 October, which provided Victorians with greater freedoms, including ending the 8pm curfew. Restrictions are set to further ease from Friday 29 October, when the state reaches the coveted 80 per cent vaccination target.
From 29 October, regional travel between Metropolitan Melbourne and the rest of the state will once again be freely allowed.
NSW currently only has its border shut to Victoria. Until 1 November, all people travelling from Victoria in NSW will have to quarantine at home for 14 days.
After 1 November, unvaccinated travellers will not be permitted to enter NSW from Victoria without an exemption, however fully vaccinated persons will be able to move freely between the states.
Interstate visitors from all other states can currently enter NSW, however, they will need to abide by local restrictions. Currently, lockdown restrictions have eased dramatically for fully vaccinated individuals. Check the link above for details.
Until 1 November, people within Greater Sydney are not permitted to visit regional NSW.
People who have been in a hotspot in the last 14 days or since the start date identified for the hotspot (whichever is shorter), will only be able to enter the state if they are a returning Queensland resident or required to enter for a limited range of essential reasons. Residents returning to Queensland from a hotspot must quarantine for 14 days on entering Queensland in government-arranged accommodation at their own expense.
Currently, all of NSW, Victoria, the ACT and the Jervise Bay Territory are considered COVID-19 hotspots. Tasmania fell off the hotspot list as of 1am AEST Tuesday 19 October.
As it stands, Queensland will reopen its state and international borders by at least 17 December – after the state hits its 80 per cent vaccination target.
Queensland is on track to reach 70 per cent vaccination as of 19 November, which will allow fully vaccinated interstate travellers to enter from a COVID hotspot by air only. They will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel and enter mandatory 14 days home quarantine.
After 17 December, double-jabbed travellers will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival and can travel into Queensland via air or road. A negative COVID-19 test will still be required ahead of travel.
Western Australia continues to enforce the harshest state border restrictions in the country, and all travellers must apply for a G2G pass before entering the state.
At time of writing, only travellers from the Northern Territory, Tasmania and South Australia are named ‘very low risk’, and therefore allowed to enter WA without any quarantine requirement.
As of late Monday, Queensland was once again also reverted to ‘very low risk’, meaning that from 12:01am on Wednesday, October 27, travellers from the Sunshine State will also be able to enter WA without quarantine.
ACT is designated as ‘medium risk’, meaning an exemption is required to enter, and a 14-day home quarantine must be performed.
Both NSW and Victoria are deemed ‘extreme risk’. Under this category, very few arrivals are offered exemptions, with those that are required to be fully vaccinated, present a negative COVID-19 PCR test before travel, and then enter into 14-day hotel quarantine.
Unlike other states that have pledged to reopen state borders and reunite families for Christmas, WA Premier Mark McGowan has said that his state will remain closed to any state that poses a COVID-19 risk until at least early next year.
The ACT has declared all of NSW and Victoria as a ‘COVID-19 Affected Area’, meaning non-ACT residents will require an approved exemption from ACT Health prior to arriving in the ACT, and will also enter quarantine for 14 days.
From midday 16 October, the ACT government relaxed quarantine requirements for Canberrans travelling to and from certain areas of regional NSW, including the NSW South Coast and the Southern Highlands.
The country’s capital also requires anyone who has been at a COVID-19 exposure site in any state in the last 14 days to complete an online declaration form ahead of travel. ACT residents considered a ‘close contact’ in another state will be required to quarantine on arrival in the ACT, while non-ACT residents will need to apply for an exemption to enter the state.
ACT Health revealed this week that from 1 November, Canberra will once again open its borders to travellers from Victoria, regardless of vaccination status.
The NT has declared the ACT, NSW and Victoria as COVID-19 hotspots, meaning non-Territorians will require an exemption to enter the state.
All travellers entering from a declared hotspot must quarantine in a “supervised” government facility.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced that from 23 November, fully vaccinated travellers entering from a domestic COVID-19 hotspot will be able to instead enter a 14-day home quarantine.
The Tasmanian government has named ACT, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and SA as ‘high risk’ areas.
Anyone coming into the state from a high-risk area must receive an exemption as an Essential Traveller and undergo a 14-day quarantine in a government-managed facility.
Travellers from the NT or WA are allowed. However, they must register their travel and contact details through the Tas e-travel system ahead of travel.
Tasmania has announced that fully vaccinated interstate and international arrivals will be allowed to enter Tasmania without quarantine from 15 December, when the state expects 90 per cent of its population 12-plus year-olds will be fully vaccinated.
South Australia currently has its border shut to NSW, the ACT, and Victoria – with the exception of some towns on the border of Victoria or SA.
Residents, or any other traveller, must apply for an exemption before travelling into the state, and then complete home quarantine for 14 days, with tests on days one, five and 13.
South Australia is yet to reveal its roadmap to reopen borders with the Eastern states.
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