Greater Sydney will be declared a hotspot from 1am Monday the 21st of December 2020, and there will be a renewed focus on COVID-safe behaviour to ensure Queensland remains safe from the coronavirus pandemic.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the situation in New South Wales continues to escalate and as a result, border restrictions are being ramped up to protect Queenslanders.
“In addition, we will make sure Queensland businesses do not let up in their measures against the virus, and that all venues move to electronic registration of patrons,” the Premier said.
“We remain in a health emergency that was declared at the end of January, and we must stay vigilant.”
The hotspot will match the area nominated by New South Wales: the Greater Sydney region and the Central Coast, Illawarra-Shoalhaven, and Nepean Blue Mountains.
Non-Queensland residents from the hotspot will not be permitted after 1am Monday the 21st of December.
Queensland residents returning from Greater Sydney will have 24 hours after 1am Monday the 21st of December to get a border pass, return to their residence in Queensland, get tested and quarantine at home for 14 days from when they left the hotspot.
From 1am Tuesday the 22nd of December, Queenslanders returning from Greater Sydney will be required to get a border pass to enter Queensland and undertake 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine.
Anyone already in Queensland who has been in Greater Sydney since 11 December should get tested and home quarantine until they get their result.
The Premier strongly urged everyone in Queensland to get back to their COVID-safe basics.
“It’s vitally important that everyone follows the hygiene and social distancing advice in all situations, day in and day out, and get tested if they feel at all unwell with COVID-19 symptoms,” she said.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the extra measures were to protect the health of Queenslanders.
“Police are already undertaking random spot checks on the roads, but border checkpoints will be put in place over the next 24 to 48 hours,” Mr Miles said.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath asked Queensland businesses and patrons to seriously address existing health requirements, especially social distancing, hand hygiene and contact tracing.
“To ensure everyone is doing their part, I am calling on all Queensland businesses to step up their vigilance in following the health advice, particularly around check-in processes and patron limits,” she said.
“Paper registration of customers is not sufficient – we are now asking you to take details electronically, and we will begin to enforce that in 72 hours from now.
“A compliance blitz in the coming days will include spot-checks and inspections as an additional safeguard for the community.
“We cannot wait until positive cases are in the community again before we act – COVID-19 is just as contagious as it was earlier in the year, even though our restrictions have eased.”
Queensland border checkpoints have been reinstated at all major border crossings and will be continually rolled out across the state by 6am tomorrow morning (December 22).
Anyone entering Queensland by road or air from New South Wales, including Queensland residents will need to complete a border declaration pass online prior to travelling to Queensland.
Those who have travelled from a declared New South Wales hotspot on or since Friday, December 11 are urged to get a COVID-19 test and immediately self-isolate. Travellers are also directed to apply for a Queensland border direction pass.
Queensland residents returning from a hotspot before 1am tomorrow Tuesday, December 22 are able to complete a 14-day quarantine process at home, provided they undergo a COVID-19 test.
People quarantining at a private address need to take their obligations seriously and stay at home.
Police will be conducting random checks on those people in home quarantine to ensure they are doing the right thing and not putting others at risk by going into public spaces.
A police presence will remain at airports with compliance checks carried out on all flights from New South Wales and random checks on passengers disembarking from other interstate flights.
State Disaster Coordinator Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said tightening border controls was vital to keep Queenslanders safe.
We know it has been difficult for many people, particularly those who were looking forward to spending time with their family and friends over the festive season,” Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said.
“As with previous border changes, we expect significant delays for motorists at some border crossings and we thank everyone for their patience.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to understand and listen closely to the Queensland public health directions as the situation in New South Wales develops.
“Now is not the time to be complacent, and I’d like to thank all Queenslanders for playing their part to help keep our community safe,” he said.
Failure to comply with quarantine directions and border restrictions can result in on-the-spot fines of $1,334 for individuals and $6,672 for corporations.
Providing false information on the declaration or entering Queensland unlawfully could result in a $4,003 fine.
The Queensland Entry Declaration can be accessed at www.qld.gov.au/border-pass and is valid for fourteen days.