Queensland’s border checkpoints will be dismantled from 1.00am on Monday, allowing freedom of entry to not just New South Wales residents, but everyone Australia-wide.
Border declarations will not be needed to enter the Sunshine State because there are now no declared hotspots anywhere in the country.
Here is everything you need to know about the latest advice to Queenslanders.
Who can travel to Queensland?
Everyone! Well, almost.
Anyone who has been in the Greater Sydney region in the past 14 days will not be allowed into Queensland until 1.00am on February 1 – unless you are a returning Queensland resident, in which case you will need to enter hotel quarantine at your own expense.
The good news is that interstate travellers in hotel quarantine will be free to leave as soon as the border opens, meaning some travellers will not have to complete a full 14 days.
That same rule does not apply to overseas travellers, all of whom have to complete the full mandatory quarantine period.
I’m a Queensland resident, where can I go?
You can travel Australia-wide, with some limitations.
Western Australia requires Queensland residents to self-quarantine for 14 days at a suitable premises and to complete a WA border declaration upon arrival.
All other states and territories are currently open to Queensland travellers with no need to quarantine.
Most states require border declarations for entry, so you should check that jurisdiction’s website for the specific form you need.
Some states have not yet announced an easing of restrictions to Greater Sydney, meaning if you spend some time there before travelling elsewhere, you may be limited from onward interstate travel.
Do I need to wear a mask when I travel?
If you’re travelling by air, yes.
Face masks are mandatory on all flights within Australia, and you have to wear one within the airport terminal too.
There are exceptions for children under 12 and those with a medical exemption.
Will the border close again?
Almost certainly, based on past experience.
Queensland has closed its border on three separate occasions to NSW and has also imposed border restrictions on other jurisdictions following outbreaks of the virus.
In total, Queensland’s health authorities have made 21 variations to the border rules since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Upon announcing the upcoming reopening of the border to Greater Sydney, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said future border closures were possible.
“If there was an outbreak of that UK variant strain, I think we’d have to shut down immediately like we did in Brisbane, but fingers crossed that won’t happen,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The Premier said, in her view, the states and territories had now refined their systems to the point where interstate travel was more streamlined, in light of outbreaks.
“I think you’ll see a lot more collective response from premiers and first ministers, to try and get this right,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“As we’ve seen, the hotspot program has been working quite well.
“Now is a great opportunity to start making [travel] plans, especially around the Easter holidays.”
But wait, didn’t NSW need 28 days with no community transmission?
The last confirmed case of locally-spread COVID-19 in New South Wales was 12 days ago.
When asked on Thursday whether the Queensland government had changed its rule on a minimum of 28 days with no community transmission before reopening to a jurisdiction, Ms Palaszczuk denied authorities were breaking their own rules.
“No, we haven’t ignored the rules at all,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“[Queensland’s chief health officer] Dr Young is very confident in her discussions with the chief health officer of New South Wales and those cases can be related back to the original clusters, so she’s very confident the 28 days has been met.”
It’s not clear how that rule has been met, given the data does not reflect that.