Trying to make heads or tails of the NSW COVID-19 lockdown laws is enough to make most of us give up in frustration.
When we put the call out to our readers about what questions they'd like answers to, in the mix of the political questions where a bunch of questions about what the laws meant for everyday activities.
It seems a lot of our readers have partners who live a long way away. Unsurprisingly, they are keen to see each other - but don't want their significant other or themselves to cop a fine or break any rules in doing so.
So we jumped on the Service NSW COVID hotline (13 77 88) to find out the answers to some of those burning questions.
We expected a long wait on hold - the robotic lady voice even told us it would be - but it was just 10 minutes before we were speaking to an operator.
The operator was friendly and informative. But what she told us highlighted the grey facing those who are trying to play by the rules.
Can you travel from Greater Sydney to regional NSW to visit your partner?
For those of you who live in Greater Sydney and have a partner in regional NSW (or vice versa) the good news is you can most definitely visit each other according to the hotline operator.
You don't even need a pass or permit to do so.
It comes under the compassionate visitation rules within the lockdown guidelines, and no permits are required when travelling under compassionate grounds.
That's where things get a bit murky. Because without a permit it means if a police officer does stop you 50 kilometres from home and well outside your Local Government Area, it's all on you to convince him you are allowed to be where you are.
The operator suggested having proof of your partner's address and your address, and printing out or having a screenshot of the compassionate grounds section of the COVID rules (link here - it's about half way down the page). Basically anything you could put together to provide evidence you're visiting your partner.
If your area of NSW leaves the lockdown, and you travel from a lockdown area to your partners place, then you'll need to continue to abide by the rules of your lockdown despite being in a non-lockdown zone.
Basically that means if regional NSW were to get out of lockdown but Greater Sydney remained locked down and you travelled from Sydney to say, Tamworth, you'd be required to abide by Sydney's stay at home orders while in the regions.
Can I travel from regional NSW to Sydney?
A lot of our readers also asked about travelling from places in regional NSW into Greater Sydney - be it for medical reasons or other required trips (such as to the airport).
There was confusion as to if a permit was required or not.
The NSW COVID hotline operator informed us that there are no permits required for travel from the regions into Greater Sydney.
If I'm assisting somebody I don't live with, or visiting my partner, can we travel in a car together?
The rules for regional NSW basically only allow residents to travel with others they live with.
But there are some exceptions. For example, in an emergency, or for those previously discussed compassionate reasons.
Care or assistance to a vulnerable person also gives you an exception, as does if the car is being used as a taxi or rideshare.
Work is also an exception (for example, if you are a police officer working in a team of two people) or if you're travelling with your nominated visitor ("singles bubble") to exercise outdoors.
- Find out more about what restrictions apply here, or call the hotline on 13 77 88, it runs 24/7.