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Victorians race to get home ahead of COVID border closure, leaving NSW tourism operators in tears


#It took less than an hour for #Victorian guests at the #Garden of #Eden #Caravan #Park in #Eden, on the NSW #South #Coast, to start checking out after the #Victorian #Government yesterday announced plans to close its border with NSW.

#Acting #Victorian #Premier #Jacinta #Allan told #Victorians the state would close its border to all of NSW from #January 2 because of an increase in case numbers in NSW, where 10 new cases were confirmed on #Thursday.

“#It is a decision based on the public health advice.

“#It is based on the numbers coming out of NSW and it is also based on wanting to make sure we lock in the precious gains and sacrifices #Victorians have made.”

The #Acting #Premier said there were thousands and “possibly tens of thousands” of #Victorians in NSW who would need to get home.

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#Ms #Allan said #Victorian travellers in NSW who arrived back in their home state on #Thursday would be required to have a COVID test and isolate at home until they had their results back.

#Victorians who make it home on #Friday will need to isolate in their homes for 14 days, while #Ms #Allan said any #Victorians returning from #January 2 would be required to go through hotel quarantine for 14 days.

#At the #Garden of #Eden #Caravan #Park, where 95 per cent of guests were from #Victoria, the press conference was watched live on devices by many campers.

#Manager #Allan #Carlson said he was “really pissed off” that his community, just a 45-minute drive from the #Victorian border, was included in the hard closure, even though the local region didn’t have any coronavirus cases.

“#We have a thousand people in their caravans and everyone was happy and now none of them are happy because they all have got to go home,” he said, speaking to the ABC on #Thursday after the announcement.

#Bushfires, COVID and now #Christmas bookings cut short for NSW tourist operator

#For the caravan park operator, it was a huge blow.

#His wife #Lyn #Carlson was in tears after hearing the news.

#She said it brought back memories of the caravan park emptying out at #New #Year’s last year when bushfires threatened.

A woman poses for a photo
#Caravan park manager #Lyn #Carlson says her work has lost nearly all of its guests because of the border closure.(ABC #News: #Adriane #Reardon)

“#It is the same again, exactly the same day 12 months ago and we had everything planned for a #New #Year’s #Eve party on the tennis court and there was smoke and nobody could breathe,” she said.

“They all packed up and went on the first of #January and they are all going tomorrow.”

#But #Ms #Carlson said it was COVID-19 even more than bushfires that had the biggest impact on her business.

#Out fishing, one #Victorian couple nearly missed the crucial border news

Wayne and Lynne stand in front of their caravan and a river.
#Wayne and #Lynne from #Melbourne had to quickly pack up their caravan to get back to #Victoria before the state’s border closed to NSW.(ABC #News: #Adriane #Reardon)

#At #Nethercote, just north of #Eden, #Melbourne couple #Lynne and #Wayne were fishing when the border closure was announced and only heard about it when they spoke to the ABC.

“I’m just shattered,” #Wayne said.

“The fish are biting too,” he joked.

The pair had planned to stay in NSW for two more days.

“I was totally gutted,” #Lynne said after hearing news of the border closure.

#She said for #Melburnians who had spent the year in lockdown wanting to get away for a break, it was tough to cut holidays short.

#Wayne and #Lynne decided they would travel back across the #Victorian border on #Thursday night to avoid having to self-isolate for two weeks.

#Victorians queue for fuel before starting long drives home

#At #Pambula, also on the #Far #South #Coast of NSW, campervans, 4WDs and cars with full bike racks lined up for petrol late on #Thursday afternoon, as families prepared to quickly travel home from beach holidays cut short.

#Local #David #Evelyn said the last time he saw similar scenes was during last summer’s bushfires.

“#This time last year, nearly exactly to the minute, we had queues like this trying to get petrol but the difference is the sky was orange,” he said.

Cars line up to buy petrol and are also in congested traffic on a passing road.
#Victorians holidaying in NSW’s #Far #South #Coast hit the road on #Thursday to get back across the border as quickly as they could.

#Some #Victorians unsure when they will be allowed to return

#Melbourne doctor #Christine and her mum #Louise #Phillips have been in #Albury for the past 11 days waiting to get home.

#Christine travelled to #Sydney for a three-day break in mid-December, but a dinner booking at a #Manly restaurant meant she had visited #Sydney’s northern beaches when COVID cases emerged in that part of the city.

#She had to spend 14 days outside of the northern beaches “hot zone” to return to #Victoria.

#Ms #Phillips said her daughter spent three days self-isolating with a friend in another part of #Sydney before all of the city was designated a “red zone” by #Victoria.

#She said when #Sydney was designated a red zone it meant her daughter needed to spend 14 days in another part of NSW before she could get a permit to travel back to #Victoria.

#Christine decided to spend a fortnight in #Albury, with her mum meeting her there so they could be together for #Christmas.

Louise Phillips sits on the floor in a hotel room next to a half completed puzzle.
#Louise #Phillips and her daughter #Christine have been in an #Albury hotel for the past 11 days. They’ve been using puzzles to help pass the time.(#Supplied)

The pair isolated in #Albury and had COVID tests, which came back negative.

#On #Thursday when the border closure announcement was made, they were on #Christine’s 11th day outside of #Sydney.

#Ms #Phillips spent much of #Thursday afternoon trying to call the DHHS hotline for advice but couldn’t get through because it was overwhelmed with calls.

#She said she didn’t know if her daughter would be allowed to return to #Victoria or if she would need to go through hotel quarantine.

#Ms #Phillips said the pair were supportive of #Victoria’s health measures and wanted to do the right thing, but they also wanted to know how they could get home.



[ source link ]
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-01/victorians-race-to-get-home-before-nsw-border-closure/13024514

##Victorians #race #home #ahead #COVID #border #closure #leaving #NSW #tourism #operators #tears

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