QLD to close border to all of NSW, mask rules extended by a week

QLD to close border to all of NSW, mask rules extended by a week

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles has announced the state will be closing its borders to all of NSW from 1am tomorrow to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, although a border bubble for essential travel will be established.

The border bubble will extend south to the Clarence Valley and west to the South Australian border, while Miles noted Coffs Harbour had not been included due to Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young's concerns for that region.

"There will be a border zone in place for people who live and need to travel within the community around the border," Miles said.

"It will allow people to move around those communities for essential reasons; all of the things that you would expect like to go to school, to go to work, for healthcare or to care for others."

The announcement coincides with confirmation that various restrictions will be eased within Queensland from 6am tomorrow, with the number of visitors allowed to visit the home rising from 30 to 100, a lifting of gathering limits in outdoor public spaces, and a relaxing of the density rule in indoor premises from 4 square metres to 2 square metres.

Wedding and funeral limits will also rise to 200 people.

As it's been less than 14 days since Queensland had someone infectious while in the community, the Chief Health Officer has asked people to continue wearing masks for another seven days.

"Masks have proven effective at allowing us to mitigate the risk of those infectious cases, so continue to wear masks at all times when you're around others, except for when you're seated and eating or drinking, or strenuous exercise," Miles said.

He said lockdowns currently in place in Victoria, South Australia and Greater Sydney, which have been reciprocated by Queensland, have meant the state's border is effectively closed to travellers from those areas already.

"But in order to be able to ease these restrictions I've outlined, we need to close the border to the rest of NSW. That will mirror the arrangements currently in place in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

"We really want to be able to ease these restrictions safely but we can't ease here without greater assurance, greater protection from the risk of people travelling from other states with the virus into our state."

However, while some restrictions will be eased in Queensland, authorities have learned from recent experiences in Victoria at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and AAMI Park about how easily the Delta strain can be spread at sporting events.

In light of this, stadiums with greater than 20,000 seats will only be allowed to operate at 75 per cent seating capacity and there will also be more stringent requirements around mask-wearing even while seating, except for when patrons are eating or drinking.

Updated at 11:15am AEST on 22 July 2021.

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