WA confirms Christmas border gift for NSW
Western Australia will finally reopen its borders to NSW and Victoria without needing to quarantine, paving the way for Christmas reunions across the country.
Premier Mark McGowan announced on Tuesday, the WA border will reopen on December 8 if NSW reaches 28 days without a locally-acquired coronavirus case on Friday. Victoria has already reached the milestone.
The border reopening comes with several health measures and conditions.
"Victoria and NSW will be categorised as very low risk under our controlled borders," Mr McGowan said.
"They will join the ACT, Queensland, Northern Territory and Tasmania as very low risk jurisdictions."
All travellers who arrive at Perth Airport must undergo a health screening and temperature test under the conditions. They must also be prepared to take a COVID-19 test at an airport clinic if health officials deem it necessary.
Mr McGowan said travellers must also complete a declaration form and confirm they have not "knowingly mixed with anyone from South Australia."
It comes after Sydneysiders were welcomed into Queensland this morning after the state opened its borders.
After 250 days of strict closures and many controversies as a result, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last week announced the border would reopen on December 1.
Traffic was gridlocked as the closure was lifted at 1am on Tuesday with eager travellers lining up to enter the sunshine state without a pass. Police said on Monday they were expecting New Year's Eve levels of chaos.
Thousands of travellers are expected to descend on the northern state from today.
Ms Palaszczuk marked the event by tweeting: "From 1am tomorrow, Queensland will open to Greater Sydney and Victoria and anyone who has travelled here from those places will be able to leave hotel quarantine."
The state is expecting a tourism boom as the border lifts just in time for summer holidays.
While the opening will prove to be a joyous occasion for those holidaying and reuniting with families, it will also be a big moment for Queensland businesses struggling without tourist dollars.
The border saga was a tense topic between Ms Palaszczuk and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for much of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Berejiklian had been public in her efforts to reach out to her Queensland counterpart and have borders opened or restrictions eased between the two states, to no avail.
The tensions were only enhanced when Ms Palaszczuk opened the border to everywhere in NSW except Sydney.
Her tough restrictions resulted in tragedy more than once.
In August, a Ballina woman, pregnant with twins, was told she could not enter Queensland for emergency care and lost one of her unborn babies.
She was forced to travel to a Sydney hospital after, the family claims, being denied a coronavirus border exemption for care in Brisbane.
In September Sarah Caisip, a 26-year-old from Canberra, was denied permission to attend the Brisbane funeral of her father, Bernard, who died from cancer a week earlier.
When Queensland tightened its border restrictions again on August 7 amid fears of a second wave in NSW, Gold Coast pensioner Graham McKerlie, 78, was removed from a bus crossing into Queensland because he had spent a one hour stopover in Sydney during his travels.
Queensland's border remains closed to Adelaide, which has been classified as a hot spot.
COVID restrictions eased in NSW
Coronavirus restrictions have also been eased across NSW this morning.
Small hospitality venues (up to 200 square metres in size) will be allowed to have one person per two square metres indoors. Up to 50 people (currently 20) can visit a residence as long as an outdoor space is being utilised, however, it's recommended no more than 30 people gather if the residence has no outdoor area.
Up to 50 people can gather outdoors in a public space (currently 30).
Originally published as WA confirms Christmas border gift for NSW