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Out of lockdown, but Canberrans warned against crossing border

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Hospitality venues are open again in the national capital, after weeks of lockdown. Photo: Getty
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Canberrans have been warned not to travel over the border into regional NSW, despite the ACT coming out of lockdown.

While NSW has removed the national capital as a COVID-19 area of concern – allowing travel to all parts of the state except for Sydney – ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr urged residents not to cross the border for another fortnight.

The ACT has set up a cross-border region of 27 postcodes, such as Queanbeyan, Cooma and Goulburn. But travel outside of those areas would result in Canberrans having to quarantine on their return.

However, free travel between Sydney and Canberra is expected to return from November 1.

“The best advice is that if you don’t need to travel, don’t travel. If you don’t need to cross the border, don’t cross the border,” Mr Barr said.

“My advice between now and November 1 is travel across the border is for essential reasons.

“We still have a virus circulating, and 90,000-plus who are not vaccinated fully.”

He urged Canberrans not to travel to surrounding areas to go to the pub or for retail, and only for essential reasons such as work or health care.

However, travel advice is likely to change on November 1, coinciding with when NSW restrictions will ease, allowing Sydneysiders to travel to regional destinations.

“It will be a few days later than what we had envisaged, but we will align with NSW,” Mr Barr said.

“The exact nature of the changes we will work through and this next two weeks will be an easing of regional travel.”

Canberra had its first day out of lockdown on Friday.

Cafes, restaurants, bars, gyms and hairdressers were allowed to reopen to customers, subject to density limits.

However, it will be another fortnight before shops are again allowed to open their doors, with businesses still able to offer only click-and-collect.

There were 35 cases of COVID reported on Friday, down from the more than 50 cases earlier this week.

Health authorities also announced the death of a woman in her 70s from COVID, who lived at an aged-care facility in Canberra’s north.

She is the eighth to die in the ACT from the virus during the current outbreak.

The ACT has also reached 99 per cent of eligible residents over 12 getting their first vaccine dose, while about 75 per cent are fully vaccinated.

-AAP