There have been long delays on the Queensland border as police check every vehicle and workers struggle to understand the new restrictions.
- Queensland has closed its border to all non-essential workers, including teachers, craftsmen and hospitality workers
- More than 6,000 vehicles were intercepted at the border, 606 were turned back
- The restrictions are another economic blow to the border community
From 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, New South Wales border residents are only allowed to enter Queensland for important reasons or legitimate work.
Many companies have lost access to employees, according to Hilary Jacobs, president of the Greater Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce.
“Small businesses that have employees who live in NSW who are then told their business is not considered important so they can’t get across the border,” said Ms. Jacobs.
“We shouldn’t be in a situation where we’re looking to see if there is a line on a map that says this side of the street can go to work and this side of the street can’t.”
As of Friday, key workers must have a Queensland exemption – such as B. Health or Rescue Workers – have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
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“We have no clarity”
Ms. Jacobs says businesses now have to navigate confusing restrictions for both NSW and Queensland.
Who is not an important worker?
- Anyone who can do their work remotely, at home
- Child care workers
- Hospitality workers
- Sales representative
- Commercial construction workers on non-critical projects
Source: Queensland Health
“It’s pretty much a dog breakfast right now,” she said.
“The rules change day by day.”
Tracey Bentley owns a grocery store in Banora Point in the Tweed Shire but lives in Southport.
“I have records that cover me as an essential service and I should be able to work from the border to provide it,” she said.
However, Ms. Bentley said she was not classified as an essential worker under the Queensland border restrictions.
“The decision I got from the government this morning is pretty much: It’s up to the border controller, whoever it is, if I pull up, to let me go back to Queensland,” she said.
“It’s a big risk.”
Andrew Chiodo owns a coffee shop in Tweed Heads, “a seven-minute walk from the border,” but almost all of his employees live in Queensland.
The police will now stop and control all vehicles that cross road checkpoints. (
ABC News: Baz Ruddick
“Trying to separate tweed from coolangatta and coolangatta from tweed is too difficult,” he said.
“We are really more attached to Queensland than to New South Wales.
“I would have thought that food was important.”
Hundreds turned away
Police intercepted 6,442 vehicles at border checkpoints in the 24 hours to 5:00 a.m. today, turning over 606 vehicles.
Acting Chief Superintendent of the Gold Coast Rhys Wildman says every vehicle is checked.
“There will be delays,” he said.
“Plan ahead, give yourself plenty of time, and be patient.”
Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman says traffic delays will continue. (
ABC News: Kimberley Bernard
Acting Chief Superintendent Wildman said cross-border residents should check the rules online.
“See exactly what the exceptions are and how they apply to your particular circumstances,” he said.
“Be prepared to have this information and supporting documents, including letters from an employer, on hand when you approach the officer at the checkpoint.”
Thirty teachers from Palm Beach Currumbin State High School were unable to cross the line to work.
A mother of a 10-year-old high school student, Nicole McAtamney, said she wasn’t sure how this would affect learning.
Parents have raised concerns about the disruption of their children’s learning. (
ABC Gold Coast: Alexandria Utting
“Our kids, they just miss so much,” she said.
“There’s just so much confusion about what’s going on.”
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Another student’s parents, Kym Hearne, are frustrated that teachers are not considered important, especially as the seniors are preparing for their final exams.
“It’s so hard for teachers to juggle both online and in class,” she said.
“It would be really annoying, I imagine.”
Concern that the virus is moving north
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk says that with all of NSW in lockdown, “strict border measures are necessary and enforced”.
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Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young says more vaccines are being distributed to border communities.
But LNP member for Currumbin Laura Gerber said there had been inconsistent messages from the state government.
“This latest announcement of mandatory vaccines to cross the line comes in a press conference with no details, no consistent news or information for people to use to ease the anxiety,” she said.
“There are companies in Coolangatta that are only boarded up today because either all of their employees are from NSW or the business owner lives in NSW himself.”
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to search, up and down arrows to volume.RegardDuration: 9 minutes 14 seconds9m If you are vaccinated, how protected are you from contracting COVID-19? (ABC News)