Sensible transition to easing border restrictions

Peter Gutwein,Premier

The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been our number one priority.

The restrictions that have been put in place to keep Tasmanians safe have been difficult, however they have served us well, and we continue to be in a good place.

As a result of the current situation and the lessening risk to our State, we are implementing on public health advice a sensible glide-path transition as part of a three-step process to ease border restrictions in the lead up to the 1 December date.

Step 1 will be to allow, from midnight this Sunday 20th September, Tasmanian FIFO workers who are away for extended periods of time working in low risk jurisdictions the opportunity to come home without quarantine as long as they return directly from their safe state without spending time in Victoria or other hotspot areas.

As part of Step 1, we will also allow seasonal workers to enter our State, under COVID-Safe conditions, for the upcoming season.

There will be strict conditions in place to limit movement for seasonal workers for 14 days, including staying on the farm property or in their primary place of residence unless attending work, for the purpose of seeking medical care or obtaining essential supplies, an emergency situation or departing the State.

Importantly people coming in at our sea and air ports will continue to be health screened under current rules including testing for essential workers from Victoria or hotspot areas and freight drivers will be tested on a rolling seven day schedule.

Step 2 in the process, as we continue to strengthen our health and aged care preparedness, the State Controller on advice from public health will consider the possibility of bringing forward the date for easing of border restrictions with COVID-Safe and low risk jurisdictions by the end of October such as SA, WA, NT, Queensland, the ACT, and possibly NSW.

This enables adequate time to ensure the transmission risk with Victoria on other states is as low as it can be, and ensures the necessary systems and processes are in place.

Step 3 will be for Public Health to provide advice on border restrictions with Victoria or other hotspot areas post the 1 December date in line with the national aspiration for the country to be open for travel from safe jurisdictions by Christmas.

By taking a sensible transition we are able to cautiously assess and monitor risk, and scale up or scale back as required to keep Tasmanians safe.

To be very clear, I will not do anything that puts Tasmanian lives at risk and I thank everyone for continuing to do the right thing. Please remember to follow the rules that remain in place, to help us keep on top of COVID.

Tasmanians will start to see more of these messages over coming days and weeks, as a stark reminder of the importance to keep on top of COVID so that we can keep living our lives without the serious restrictions we are seeing in other jurisdictions.

The Keep on Top of COVID campaign, launched today, includes messages of what the government is doing to keep Tasmanians safe, as well as what we can all do to keep us all safe. This work responds to a key recommendation of the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council, which stressed the importance of keeping Tasmanians informed.

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