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Byron Shire
January 23, 2022

Border bubble zone bursts thanks to COVID-19 cases in QLD

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The so-called ‘border bubble’ zone allowing Northen Rivers’ residents to cross back and forth over the Queensland border may have just burst.

‘Areas of Concern’: Anyone in NSW who has been in one or more of eleven particular Queensland local government areas since 12.01am on 21 July is required to follow the ‘stay at home’ rules for fourteen days from the date they were last in those areas, ‘or until the notice is revoked’, authorities said Monday. Under the ‘stay at home’ rules you must stay at your residence unless you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave, such as going to work or education (if you cannot work or study at home), obtaining food or services, medical care, exercising outdoors or getting vaccinated.

The household contacts of those merely under the ‘stay at home’ rules do not have to abide by those ‘stay at home’ rules.

‘Places of High Concern’: Different rules apply to NSW residents who have been in COVID-19 locations visited by a confirmed case. There is a list of these Case Locations here. Those people have to follow different ‘self-isolation’ rules.

Persons who have visited those places of high concern are considered ‘close contacts’, so there are obligations to get tested, listed here. Family members of those persons are  ‘secondary close contacts’, and, if they cannot separate themselves from the close contact, have to follow the ‘self-isolation’ rules.

In it together: NSW follows QLD stay-at-home advice

The stay-at-home order meant the travellers and their household contacts would effectively be following similar extended stay-at-home rules as Queenslanders in that state’s eleven areas of concern.

But it was unclear whether ‘the notice’ referred to in the updated advice referred to QLD or NSW health orders and The Echo was told to email the question Tuesday morning.

Impacted Queenslanders were only told to stay at home until 4pm Sunday.

Thousands of QLD border zone residents likely to be stuck at home

Either way, the Gold Coast local government area was on the list, meaning hundreds if not thousands of Northern Rivers’ residents who worked, studied or had other engagements over the border were likely to be stuck at home for at least six, if not fourteen days.

Conversely, most workers and students from the Gold Coast would be unable to make commitments on the Northern Rivers for the week.

The other ten Queensland local government areas listed were Brisbane City; Moreton Bay;  Ipswich; Lockyer Valley; Logan City; Noosa; Redland City; Scenic Rim; Somerset; and Sunshine Coast.

Queensland’s stay-at-home orders came into effect from 4pm Saturday 31 July, with residents in the eleven listed LGAs only allowed to leave home under certain circumstances: shopping; medical care; caregiving; outdoor exercise with a member of the same household or one other person; and work or education where impossible from home.

Travel declaration forms still required

Anyone arriving in NSW from an ‘affected area’ (which has included the entire state of Qld since 16 June 2021) has been required to complete a declaration.
The declaration form was available on the Service NSW website and could be completed in the 24-hour period before entering NSW or on arrival, health authorities said.
People entering NSW who had been in Victoria or South Australia in the past fourteen days also had to complete a declaration form but stay-at-home requirements no longer applied.


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  1. Yep, I’m locked up at home and unable to run my dying small business. I have no business support from the NSW government as I turnover under $30K which is an amount I possibly would be turning over annually if I could actually run my business without the impact of Covid restrictions. I am currently on hold to the NSW government and have been now for over 30 mins. It’s not good enough. I, along with many others are going backwards fast. Help please!!!

    • Thanks Brenda, this information isn’t about a QLD lockdown to visitors but about stay-at-home rules for NSW. The latest information from NSW Health states: ‘a person who has been in an area of concern after 12.01am on 21 July 2021 must, after arriving in NSW, immediately travel directly to the person’s place of residence or a suitable place to reside in. If already in NSW, the person must immediately return to their place of residence or other suitable place. The person must not leave that residence except with a reasonable excuse for 14 days after they were last in an area of concern or while this notice is in force, whichever is sooner’. You might be thinking of when this order was originally declared, which was on 31.07.21. We are seeking further clarification from Northern NSW Local Health District.

  2. I read on the govt websites of both NSW & QLD that lockdown started 31st July with a properly closed border and the stay at home isolate order was for 14 days from your last QLD visit if it was on the 21st or later. I was in QLD on the 20th so it didn’t affect me .

  3. Although I do my damnedest to keep up daily with border-crossing and other COVID news, this is the first I’ve heard of this new information.

    I can find nothing about it on NSW Health or QLD Health sites, the ABC, SBS News, despite spending the last hour trawling those sites.

    The news is a tad late (if it’s correct), because I was in Tugun on the 26th for medical purposes. There was no such instruction or notification on any of the formwork I submitted/received for that border crossing, and I’ve been back home and in my community now for eight days.

    Perhaps it’s all owing to the governments’ constantly changing the info rapidly but not adequately disseminating it. What a complete clusterfuck! All politicians responsible for this mess right from the start – mishandling it, party-politicising it, and insisting on frequent premature returns to ‘normal’ for the sake of the bloody economy – ought to be voted out at the next state and federal elections.

    I’m generally a patient fellow, but I’ve now none left for Those (not) In Control.

  4. Im in banora Point nsw im stuck at home run a small cleaning business can’t working no help why don’t you go back to original jobseeker and jobseeker package so we can live

  5. Why are there so many vehicles with Qld licence plates driving freely around Byron Bay ? Does lock down not apply to them ?

  6. I’m with you Gordon, we returned from Sunshine Coast on 22nd, before hard border came into place. We have been back in the Community doing our usual errands and appointments in the Tweed,no instructions about staying at home until last Saturday 30th, ( back dated to 21st July??) It’s like shutting the gate after the horse bolted?? No wonder people are confused.

  7. So what you are saying is a person cannot go from qld into nsw for work?
    We were told by police if we have correct pass would be ok?

  8. I live in gc and my partner lives in tweed and we essentially aren’t eligible for border passed even before the qld cases were announced so I don’t even know when I’ll be able to see him again…

  9. Any body who would like to point the finger it should be pointed directly
    at the PM Scott Morrison.he is directly responsible for this,because of his poor management and complete miss handling of this covid 19 exposure.bush fires.floods in the past 2.years.Mr Morrison it is clear to most Australians you can’t handle the heat so step down .

    • Come on Cheryl. The PM is not super human. Re COVID: what are governments to do when there are so many stupid people about who break restrictions, refuse to get vaccinated, who march around unmasked at lockdown protests with no concern for the rest of the community. Get some perspective, Cheryl.

  10. Stop flying the planes into our airports from overseas. Obviously reported this last round. But blame the first boat into NSW. Saying goodbye to a sick family member is already hard enough empathise for some. But sport or Tokyo Olympics is priority. Brisbane only contendar for 2032.
    Today is as important as to us all NOW.
    ONE RULE FOR ALL STATES. 24/48 hours SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING STAY AT HOME. ITS NOT A HARD OPTION. We are all eccential for life too.

  11. Why can my daughter go to school in the northern rivers but not do her after school sport. She is and inocent victim of me going to a Dr in Robina?

  12. It’s about time to stop the finger pointing, roll up your sleeves and get on with the job at hand acting like to true Australians and help try and solve the problem by stopping the negativity and doing your part by obeying the directives given so that we all can get out of this mess….David

  13. So if I read this correctly if you work in Qld in education and you cannot work from home you still need to go to work but can go home to NSW BUT HAVE TO SELF ISOLATE?
    Being governed by both states?

  14. I know… we have no covid cases and we are on an island….
    Lets bring it in from overseas by allowing few people to come in and lock up millions of people in the process. And destroy their livelihoods. Once again a small minority over majority.
    No common sense in our government.

  15. So if I live in the NSW border bubble with Queensland and cross the border into Queensland to do my child caring role on the weekends, I can do that but what happens when I come back to NSW? All I can see is that I have to isolate but can go to work as I cannot work from home. Is this correct?

    • Unless you’ve been to the ‘places of high concern’, ie you are planning merely to go to the eleven LGAs that are ‘areas of concern’, you just have to follow the ‘stay at home’ rules on return to NSW, according to NSW Health. From the QLD health site, “Border zone and Queensland residents entering Queensland from the border zone who have not been to an interstate exposure venue at the relevant time must:complete a Queensland entry pass (the entry pass is valid for 14 days). Get tested if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms after arriving in Queensland. Monitor the list of interstate exposure venues daily (at least once every 24 hours) from the time you complete a declaration and for 14 days after arriving in Queensland. See QLD Health Conditions


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