New South Wales will lift its limits on regional travel with holidays allowed within the state from June 1.
“You can go on a holiday with your family and friends, but know the holiday you’re taking from 1 June will be different to a holiday you have taken before,” premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday.
“Please take extra care in planning ahead, booking online, and making sure you keep away from large crowds.”
NSW is one of the only states that did not close its borders although residents have not been allowed to travel for leisure or stay overnight away from their homes since March.
It’s welcome news for regional centres affected by the Black Summer bushfires and the COVID-19 economic fallout but those planning a ski trip for the June long weekend might have to wait a little longer.
NSW deputy premier John Barilaro said the ski fields most likely won’t open by June 1 but state government will support the reopening of regions like the Snowy Mountains to allow visitors.
“I said back in March you weren’t welcome and ‘see you around Christmas,’ well, Christmas has come early,” Barilaro said.
“Pubs are already opening in the regions with groups of 10 or 20 (in the country).”
The premier added the early mark on regional travel is down to “very low case numbers” of the coronavirus.
“The numbers are so small, we’re comfortable with the steps we’re taking,” Berejiklian added and told reporters that community transmission is less than authorities expected at this time with most new cases from overseas travellers.
Would-be travellers are being urged to avoid large crowds, ring ahead to plan trips, exercise personal hand hygiene and stay home if you feel the slightest bit unwell.
Qantas flagged on Tuesday it will ramp up domestic flights to 40-50% by the end of June and will offer passengers masks to wear but will not implement the 1.5m social distancing rule on-board, meaning there will not be spare seats between passengers.
Domestic travel restrictions remain in places like Queensland with premier Annastacia Palaszczuk noting sunshine state borders may be shut until September.