From 1:00am on Saturday, Queensland closes its border crossing points to all of Greater Sydney, effectively preventing 5 million Australians from travelling into Queensland.
Given Victorians are already facing the same restrictions, this will mean a sizeable proportion of the nation’s population is once more locked out of the sunshine state.
We’ve been contacted by a lot of people with questions about who can and can’t enter Queensland — and how it will work.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked border questions.
Who can come to Queensland?
The Queensland Government has already banned visitors from Liverpool, Fairfield and Campbelltown in New South Wales, along with all of Victoria.
As of 1:00am Saturday, that list of COVID-19 hotspots will further expand to include another 31 local government areas in and around the state capital (Greater Sydney, Paramatta and the Blue Mountains).
Queenslanders who’ve been in a COVID-19 hotspot are allowed to return, but will have to quarantine at a hotel at their own expense.
Non-Queensland residents who have been in one of these hotspots in the past fourteen days will be turned around at the border.
Few exemptions to this are being granted, but Queensland Health has spelt it out online.
Ultimately, if you live in Greater Sydney, are not an exempt person and want to come to Queensland, you will need to do so before the end of the day.
If you’re driving, it’s likely there will be severe delays at the New South Wales-Queensland road border, with cars displaying New South Wales registration plates likely to be intercepted.
If you miss that deadline, you’ll have to spend a fortnight outside of any COVID-19 hotspots before you’re permitted to enter.
Keep in mind, anyone entering Queensland (including Queenslanders) have to complete a border declaration pass before entering, which is valid for seven days.
Can I travel from Queensland to NSW?
Yes. The NSW border is not closed to Queensland and you don’t need a permit or a pass to travel there.
But you will need to complete a border declaration on your way back into Queensland.
If you end up travelling into a COVID-19 hotspot, you’ll need to declare it, then hotel quarantine at your own expense for a fortnight when you return.
Can FIFO workers enter Queensland from hotspots?
Short answer, likely no. Queensland Health says there are only a very small number of FIFO workers who will be classed as specialist workers.
Getting an exemption requires you to be a specialist worker, or a worker providing continuity of government services, infrastructure or utilities critical to Queensland.
You need to demonstrate those services cannot be obtained in Queensland, that the service must be provided without delay and that you must be physically present in Queensland to provide the service.
If in doubt, call Queensland Health on 134 268.
Can I move to Queensland?
We get it — life does look pretty great in the Sunshine State.
You’re allowed to move to Queensland — provided you aren’t moving from a hotspot.
If you live in a hotspot (Greater Sydney or Victoria) and want to move to Queensland, you need to apply to the Chief Health Officer for an exemption.
Can I fly to Queensland via Sydney?
If you’re travelling from an area that is not a declared hotspot, directions from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer say you can enter the state and don’t have to quarantine — so long as you use private transport to travel directly to the airport and don’t leave the airport or your vehicle while in Greater Sydney.
Similarly, you can enter Queensland if you’re just transiting through a Sydney airport from another destination and don’t leave the airport.
It’s likely this is how two recent coronavirus cases entered Queensland flying from Melbourne via Sydney, with Queensland police alleging the women lied on their border declaration when entering Queensland.
Queensland’s Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander said the “honour system” of the border declaration needed to be tightened.
“We need to have more thorough examination of those declarations to determine whether people are telling the truth or not.”
Can I visit Sydney residents in a different part of NSW?
You’re technically allowed to do this, but must quarantine when you return to Queensland if you end up having contact with someone who has had COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
Queensland Health has strongly advised against travel to NSW for anything other than essential purposes, as further hotspots in NSW could be declared at any time.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Queensland Government would be monitoring developments in New South Wales closely but was ultimately waiting for evidence of further community transmission of coronavirus outside of the Greater Sydney area before considering a border closure to all of NSW.
What’s the coronavirus situation in Queensland?
A significant contact tracing and coronavirus testing regime is in place at Logan, Ipswich and on Brisbane’s southside after two young women shopped and dined in the community, before later testing positive to COVID-19.
Police have alleged the women deceived border authorities by failing to declare the fact they had just been to Melbourne.
Late yesterday, three women were charged with fraud and providing misleading court documents.
So far, no-one else in places visited by the women has tested positive for coronavirus.
A school where one of the women worked has been placed into lockdown.