TASMANIA’S borders will reopen on Wednesday, December 15 allowing many local families and friends who have been cut off from each other to reunite for Christmas.
** Update **
On November 5th, after our papers publication, Premier Peter Gutwein announced that the required 72-hour pre-travel test will not be needed for some states, though it will remain for high-risk areas.
The border reopening also coincides with a major tourism blitz to attract visitors from Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia and airlines adding additional flights to Tasmania.
Premier Peter Gutwein said he had chosen the date as he was confident that by then everyone above the age of 12 would have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and that Tasmania would have achieved a 90 per cent vaccination rate for 12-year-olds and above.
“We will not turn back from this date and so my message to every eligible Tasmanian over the age of 12 is if you’re not vaccinated, don’t wait until December 14 – make an appointment today and get it done as soon as you can.
“We have already achieved our 70 per cent fully vaccinated target for 16 years and over, and we expect to achieve our 80 per cent target early November, at which point we will implement a risk-based home quarantine system for most returning Tasmanians and travellers who have suitable premises subject to public health advice, provided they are fully vaccinated if over 16, and have a negative test 72 hours prior to travel.
“From December 15 anyone will be able to enter Tasmania from anywhere within Australia, subject to being fully vaccinated (12 years and over), and having a negative test result within 72 hours of travel.
“Returning Tasmanians who undertake a short trip of less than seven days will not need to have the test within 72 hours of travel and subject to being fully vaccinated will be able to return without quarantine.’’
“Based on our strong vaccination rates, we are confident that our state can open while ensuring we have the health and safety nets in place to keep on top of Covid, especially during the reopening phases,’’ he said.
“Over the past 12 months our hospital system has been building capacity, with more than 655 additional FTEs working in our health system today than there was 12 months ago, and more dedicated beds for surge capacity.
“And as our borders reopen, our vaccination program will continue so Tasmanians can keep lifting the high vaccination rates to make sure our communities are safe.’’
Labor health spokesperson Anita Dow said the plan for reopening provided welcome certainty to those impacted by border closures including Tasmanians separated from loved ones and our hospitality and tourism industries.
“Quarantine, both at home and in hotels is another issue that remains critical, with an increased importance placed on it early in the reopening plan,” she said.
“The community need confidence that previous problems with our quarantine system have been addressed following recent breaches.’’
Businesses and others impacted by the three-day lock down last month, including those in Glamorgan Spring Bay, Tasman and Sorell council areas, may be eligible for financial assistance.
A $1000 payment will be made to any business (with a minimum $25,000 turnover) forced to close for the duration of the lockdown. Businesses that closed partially, who were able to pivot to takeaway or other service delivery, will receive a $750 payment..
“Up to $10,000 is available for perishable goods which had to be discarded as a direct result of the lockdown order – recognising the impact on products that spoil in a relatively short time, such as fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products and goods like flowers.