Tears and hugs were aplenty at Gold Coast airport as Queensland reopened its border to the rest of Australia.
JetStar flight JQ400 was the first flight to land, shortly after 6 am, carrying hundreds of passengers from Sydney. It comes after a five-month border closure.
There were emotional scenes as families and friends reunited, seeing each other for the first time in months.
The QLD border opened four days ahead of schedule thanks to the state reaching 80 per cent double vaccination rates.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk accepts the border reopening means that the Queenslanders will have to live with Covid-19.
Palaszczuk insists Queenslanders will do so on their own terms. This sentiment rings true as travellers must still abide by strict conditions to enter the Sunshine State.
Thank you, Queensland. pic.twitter.com/NGFV1blgeI— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) December 12, 2021
Everything you need to know about entering Queensland
Fully-vaccinated travellers can enter QLD without restrictions. This is as long as you can travel outside of your own state.
Unvaccinated travellers can still travel to QLD but can only travel via air. They will also need to complete 14 days of hotel quarantine.
All travellers, including returning QLD residents, must apply for and receive a QLD border pass.
Rules for entry into the Sunshine State will differ depending on where you’re travelling from.
Henry is 86 and wants to get into Qld to walk his niece down the aisle. He’s waiting until Friday to travel. Another family has been trying to relocate their disabled daughter for 6 months. They’re hitting the road as soon as pass comes through cc @GuardianAus #qldborder pic.twitter.com/SA3peTknYV— Jen King 💌🏊🏻♀️ (@JustJenKing) December 12, 2021
Entering from a hotspot
This one will probably apply to most travellers so pay close attention.
Those entering from a COVID-19 hotspot, or who have been in a hotspot in the last 14 days, can enter QLD by air, road, rail or sea and not quarantine.
You will need to return a negative PCR test within 72 hours of crossing the border.
If you’re staying for more than five days you will also need to return another negative test on day five of your visit.
Most of NSW, Victoria and the ACT are all COVID-19 hotspots. If you’re unsure if you’re from a hotspot check the full list here.
Entering from a ‘green zone’
There are no restrictions to your entry. All you have to do is get your hands on a QLD border pass and you’re good to go.
Don’t try and cut corners, plenty of police will be at border checkpoints to verify travellers’ vaccination status and border passes.
Travelling in a border town
From Monday 13 December at 1 am, residents will be able to travel freely for any reason.
You will still need a QLD border pass, which is current for 14 days, but you won’t need to constantly provide negative COVID tests.
Well, I think that’s a wrap from the Qld border at Tweed Heads. Not many vehicles, police are cheerful, sun is shining. I think we can call this a positive news story? Off home to Byron Shire now, where Covid is having a run… 😬 But first: coffee #qldborder pic.twitter.com/hIHLTp5irU— Jen King 💌🏊🏻♀️ (@JustJenKing) December 12, 2021
Arriving in QLD from overseas
Australian citizens or permanent residents can enter QLD directly.
You must be fully vaccinated and return a negative test result within 72 hours before your departure.
You will still need to complete 14 days of hotel quarantine when you arrive in QLD. Quarantine must take place within a two-hour drive of the airport. See the full list of requirements here.
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