The NSW-Victoria border opens today after being closed for more …
There was a party-like atmosphere, complete with DJ and pumping music, as the border ban was lifted at Albury-Wodonga this morning and residents of New …
The NSW-Victoria border opens today after being closed for more than four months due to COVID-19 – ABC News
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The NSW-Victoria border has reopened, 138 days after it was slammed shut by Premier Gladys Berejiklian to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Key points:The border opened at 12.01am this morning after being closed for four-and-a-half monthsMore than 14,000 police have manned checkpoints along the border since the July 8 closureOne Wodonga motel booked out hours after it was announced the border would open
The border officially opened this morning at 12.01am, meaning people are now able to travel freely between both states without needing to quarantine.
There were celebrations at the Albury-Wodonga checkpoint, with a DJ playing for the big countdown and police blaring their sirens as the clock struck midnight.
Melbourne resident Fiona Snape stayed in Wodonga last night so she could hit the road early this morning to pick up her 18-year-old daughter from University in Canberra.
Ms Snape booked the accommodation as soon as she heard the border was opening.
“I haven't seen her since the beginning of July so that will be great to see her again and I'll pick her up and take her back to Melbourne for the holidays,” she said.
“We're all looking forward to a nice reunion.”
Fiona Snape stayed in Wodonga overnight so she could cross the border early this morning.(ABC News: Jackson Peck)
The EconoLodge Border Gateway Motel booked out within hours of the announcement the border would reopen.
“We've had close to 150 reservations since the announcement … for a 10-room motel in a little country town that's quite phenomenal,” manager Duncan McLaren said.
“It's quite a good feeling to have after the last few months of very crippling restrictions.”
Duncan McLaren says the EconoLodge Motel booked out hours after the border announcement.(ABC News: Jackson Peck)
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and she thanked them for their resilience.
“We never want to see this ever again,” she said.
“This is the last time in our lifetime this border is closed and we know tomorrow morning after midnight it will be a whole new era for both of our states.”
Ms Berejiklian said she felt more confident now about the lifting of the border than , because of the number of days of no local transmissions in both states.
Crews removed traffic guides at a border checkpoint at Albury on Sunday.(ABC News: Mikaela Ortolan)
As of yesterday, Victoria had recorded 23 consecutive days of no community transmission, while NSW had recorded 15.
The border between the two states has been closed since July 8, following Melbourne being hit by a second wave of coronavirus cases in late June.
Since then, only a select few people have been permitted to cross the border, including some year 11 and 12 students, agricultural workers, those seeking emergency care and those allowed to cross on compassionate grounds.
from the hard border restriction under the so-called “border bubble”, which allowed those who live and work either side relative freedom of movement.
It was reduced to just a 2.5 kilometre radius, but after Deputy Premier John Barilaro visited border communities and learnt of the disruption it caused.
Since July, more than 14,000 NSW Police officers from across the state have patrolled more than 27 checkpoints along the border.
This amounts to more than 100,000 police shifts, with about 500 officers on border checkpoints each day.
They were helped by 1,200 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, along with Transport for NSW staff and Victoria Police.
It was a big job: at one stage.
NSW Police said 80 per cent of vehicle movements were by local residents of border towns.
Police issued 17 penalty infringement notices (PINs) during the operation and seven charges were laid in relation to border control directions.
Almost 800 traffic infringements were issued and more than 70 charges were laid for a range of offences including drug supply, weapon possession and drink driving.
Crossroads Hotel cluster forced Premier's hand on closure
Ms Berejiklian had long advocated for open borders between the states and territories amid the pandemic.
Drivers heading to NSW were met with warnings during the border closure.(ABC News: Lukas Coch)
However, the Premier's was forced to change tack when an unknowingly infected Victorian freight worker visited the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney's west.
The infectious Victorian, who visited the hotel on July 3, eventually led to the COVID-19 diagnoses of at least 58 people in NSW.
An became NSW's 52nd coronavirus fatality on August 1.
Now, more than four months later, and following a run of no Victorian or NSW COVID-19 cases, the hard border between the states has come down.
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