A new 'traffic light system' aimed at implementing clearer border control measures for all domestic travel into Victoria has gone live.
The permit system, announced on Monday, will see anyone from outside the bubble arriving at the Victorian border without a permit, or from the red zone, fined $5000.
The new border policies have been announced after the sudden move to close the border to NSW on New Year's Eve, a decision which caused chaos, forcing tens of thousands of tourists to evacuate and cross back in to Victoria within a short time-frame so as to avoid quarantining.
The zones are determined as follows:
- Red zones: Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Brisbane
- Orange zones: regional NSW
- Green zones: the rest of Australia
Anthony Osborne of Sapphire Coast Destination Marketing said the new system might provide a little bit of relief, but was still pretty painful for visitors to the Far South Coast region.
"The amber (orange) light hardly gives confidence to Victorians hoping to travel to our region," he said.
"The uncertainty remains on how to get home or what will happen if there's a blow up of COVID cases."
If you have been in:
a red zone, you will only be able to apply for a permit as a permitted worker, or to transit through Victoria to another state or territory. If you try to enter Victoria by road without a valid permit, exemption or exception you will be turned away. If you attempt to enter via an airport or seaport without a valid permit, exemption or exception you will be fined. Victorians will be required to quarantine at home, and others will be sent back.
an orange zone, you will be able to apply for a permit and will have to take a COVID test within three days of your arrival in Victoria and isolate until you receive a negative test result.
a green zone, you will be able to apply for a permit and enter Victoria.
NSW-Victorian cross-border community (bubble) residents will be able to enter Victoria without a permit, but must carry photo ID and proof of address.
The classification of the cross-border community remains the same as what was referred to as the border bubble.
Mr Osborne said the new system is not conducive to people booking a longer stay.
"That's gone, it went over the border on New Year's Eve.
"Overall there's no assurity, and the ongoing issue and anxiety now is what happens through February and March.
"Victoria is still our major market, this will likely continue to impact bookings.
"It's really concerning and difficult times for the tourism industry," Mr Osborne said.
Information about applying for permits can be found on the Service Victoria website.
What do you think?