A surprise last-minute decision by Queensland to encourage travel within the state means the entire east coast of mainland Australia including NSW, ACT and Victoria is open for tourism as of today, June 1.
But it won’t be business as usual: social distancing protocols remain intact, while pubs and clubs are only now opening their doors after almost three months of hibernation as gathering rules slowly ease at different rates across the states.
“This is the day we’ve all been looking forward to since the COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in place earlier this year and I would like to thank everyone for their patience during the past few months of being cooped up at home,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
“I must stress to everyone that, while we want people to enjoy a well-earned holiday, we must do this responsibly and continue to abide by physical distancing measures, as the last thing we want is further outbreaks that will force us to reintroduce restrictions.”
Mr Barilaro said “COVID could not have come at a worse time for regional NSW, with towns already doing it tough due to bushfires and drought, so I encourage everyone to make plans to safely and responsibly visit their favourite regional holiday destination, or discover a new one.”
The decision by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to allow intrastate travel came out of the blue. She’s been stubbornly talking down the prospects of reopening, antagonising the hard hit tourism operators.
They must have worn her down.
According to Forbes, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are keeping internal borders closed until further notice despite the urging of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to getting their people and economies moving.