BORDER CLOSURE: QLDers may end up stuck in NSW
QUEENSLANDERS stuck south of the "exemption bubble" at the NSW border after Saturday morning's 1am hard border closure will have to fly home.
So anyone out partying in Byron Bay tonight wouldn't want to leave their run home too late, otherwise they'd be forced to leave the car behind, and find the nearest airport with a connecting flight to the Gold Coast or Brisbane.
That's the bizarre reality of the sunshine state's tightening of COVID-19 restrictions.
The old G passes will become next to useless after 1am, apart from making paper aeroplanes, and unless you are entitled to a new X pass, and live in the border bubble, life is about to get even more confusing.
Although there will continue to be a few exemptions for travel between the two states outside of the border bubble, Gold Coast Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said these would be the "exception" rather than the rule.
"If you are a returning Queenslander after 1am the Chief Health Officer (CHO) has directed you won't be allowed in by road, you will have to actually fly in, you will have to come in by air." he told ABC radio.
"There will be a small number of exemptions, attending medical appointments is the most obvious one, but everyone needs to understand this is a hard closure the CHO has declared NSW to be a COVID hotspot.
"These are really tough restrictions but these are extraordinary times.
"We are in a pandemic as everyone knows and the CHO has made these directions to ensure the health and safety of Queenslanders and to stop the spread of COVID-19 into Queensland."
There's also been a tightening of what constitutes an "essential activity" in order to cross the border if you are from NSW and vice versa.
"There may be people who live in Ballina and work in Brisbane and if they are not providing an essential activity they will not be able to come into Queensland," Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.
"If someone had an elderly relative in Byron Bay, if they went down to Byron Bay to provide that care they would need to quarantine coming back into Queensland."
Penalties for making a false declaration for crossing the border include an on the spot fine of $4000 and police are taking a more proactive approach to taking people to court if they have done the wrong thing where increased fines and imprisonment were an option.
There would be continued exemptions for people like freight drivers, fruit and vegetable pickers and mining workers.
But a health worker living outside the border areas of Tweed and the Gold Coast and working in Queensland would have to isolate in Queensland before being allowed to work there.