Queensland finally opened its borders on 10 July as part of the government’s roadmap to easing restrictions. While we’ve all anxiously awaited this move, there are very specific rules and restrictions that apply. So, before you make your way to the Sunshine State, it’s strongly advised to read through the guidelines.
On 25 March, Queensland closed its borders for the first time in more than a century in response to COVID-19. At the time Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a necessary move to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“Extra-ordinary times call for extra-ordinary measures,” the premier said in a media release. “They are not directed at our border communities who cross to shop or work, attend medical appointments and return to their homes.
“They are to stop holidaymakers leaving southern states and risking the spread of this virus through Queensland.”
Now, after much tussle between state premiers in Australia, Premier Palaszczuk is allowing border restrictions to ease — but not for everyone. In fact, it’s not the type of interstate travel you were used to in pre-coronavirus times.
Can I get into Queensland?
Before making any travel plans, it’s important to know whether Queensland is accepting visitors from your state.
From midday, 10 July, Queensland will allow people from all states and territories to enter, except those from Victoria. You also won’t be able to enter Queensland if you’ve been to Victoria in the past 14 days, unless you’re a Queensland resident returning. If you are, you’ll have to undergo mandatory, self-funded hotel quarantine. A second exception to the rule is if you’re someone Queensland requires for essential purposes.
What’s the Queensland Border Declaration Pass and how do I enter the state?
The Queensland’s Border Declaration Pass is crucial if you want to enter the border at Tweed Heads-Coolangatta. The state’s government has mentioned a few notes to adhere to:
- Freight transport drivers don’t need to fill out the Queensland Border Declaration Pass.
- Each individual will need to fill out a separate declaration pass, including children, and everyone in your group should be eligible to enter Queensland. If an individual seeking to enter is a child or a person with impaired capacity, a parent or guardian is allowed to fill out the form on their behalf
- Once your Queensland Border Declaration Pass is approved, you’ll need to enter the state within seven days or apply for a new pass
The border declaration pass, valid starting midday, 10 July, is available here. The old declaration pass should be disregarded as it doesn’t have an option for ‘recreational travel’. In case you have plans to travel to a remote community, you’ll need a separate Community Entry Pass.
If you make any false claims on the pass, you’ll have to pay a hefty $4,004 fine or a court-imposed penalty of $13,345.
What happens if I develop COVID-19 symptoms in Queensland?
All interstate travellers will face tough new requirements if they display any COVID-19-related symptoms. Anyone who does will have to undergo mandatory testing or face a $4,004 fine.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said anyone entering the state would have to declare on their border pass that they agree to get tested.
“The Border Declaration will require anyone who comes in to Queensland to sign off on their requirement to be tested if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms,” the deputy premier said.
How is Queensland preparing for COVID-Safe travel?
Tourism and Events Queensland Chief Executive Officer Leanne Coddington said its consumer research survey indicated that while travellers were keen to visit, health and safety was of paramount importance to them.
“We have worked with businesses around the state to share the information and requirements on how to be COVID-Safe, and once they have the required documentation in place they can display a Good to Go ‘stamp’ in their marketing to help assure travellers they will be booking a safe experience,” Coddington said in a media release.
Here are a few examples of businesses that are taking additional steps for public safety:
Hamilton Island has implemented thermal imaging cameras at both Hamilton Island Airport and Hamilton Island Marina to monitor all arrivals to the island. Additionally, these cameras will be used in busy areas across the island at peak times.
Sea Life Sunshine Coast has introduced mandatory online bookings for visitors to pre-select a timeslot for their arrival.
Some operators, including Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane and the Reef Gateway Hotel in the Whitsundays, are providing contactless experiences where customers can now view the menu, order and pay on their phone, allowing customers to safely and comfortably dine at their table.
If you’re planning to travel to Queensland, please make sure to follow the destination’s travel advice and take necessary hygiene measures to stay safe.
UPDATED 14 July 2020: We’ve removed dated information from 10 July that’s no longer relevant.
Travelling to Queensland soon? Tell us where you’re headed in the comments.
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