Who is eligible for border permit
From 11.59pm on Tuesday, only those with a permit will be able to cross the NSW-Victorian border under a harsh new lockdown designed to keep Melbourne's spiking COVID cases out of NSW.
NSW Police and the Australian Defence Force will enforce the ban, setting up roadblocks on the main roads between the two states and flying drones over the Murray River to catch anyone trying to swim across.
Only those with permits will be allowed to cross the border, but these are not expected to be granted for a few days - leaving those in the border towns of Albury and Wodonga in limbo.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the once-in-a-century decision was not being taken lightly and was necessary to keep residents of his state safe.
"Sadly for those in Victoria at the present time, they have a particularly bad transmission rate," he told 2GB.
"We have to do everything we can to stop the virus coming back from Melbourne and Victoria."
Under the new scheme, NSW residents will be able to enter Victoria but will have to apply for a permit to return home and self-isolate for two weeks.
Mr Hazzard's message to residents was simply: "Do not, do not, do not travel to Victoria. You would have to have an extremely necessary need to go there."
Everyone coming into the state from Victoria would need to apply for and be granted a permit, a process Mr Hazzard said would be heavily scrutinised. Fines will apply to anyone caught lying on their application.
Upon reaching the border, a traveller would be screened and registered and would have to self-isolate for 14 days.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told the Today show restrictions were already in place for residents of Melbourne and its surrounds, with the final hours of the open border for regional residents only.
"Until midnight tonight, we've imposed an extra restriction on Melburnians so nobody from Melbourne or its surrounds can cross the border today," she said.
"Today will just allow regional Victorians to cross the border, and we appreciate there are people who might live on either side who want to get back home and base themselves in their home state."
The finer details as to who will be eligible for a permit to cross the border have not yet been revealed, but emergency services workers and freight drivers are not expected to need one, and permits are expected to be granted to those living in border communities.
Other states that have implemented border closures have given exemptions to those moving interstate and people who need to care for sick relatives.
The permit applications are expected to be on the Service NSW website by midnight on Tuesday.
Mr Hazzard said the State Government had prepared for cases to appear "from time to time" but was working tirelessly to avoid any broadscale transmission.
He said he and Ms Berejiklian were listening to the public health team and would consider any advice they were given.
"Right now, the focus is to tell NSW residents … do not go to Melbourne, do not go to Victoria," he said.
"Effectively, if you want to go for a holiday from NSW to Victoria, forget it."
Originally published as Who is eligible for border permit