The peak body for the hotel sector, the Accommodation Association, says the decision to close borders between New South Wales and Victoria is “disappointing but understandable”.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday (6 July) the border will close from 12:01am Wednesday, 8 July following the spread of COVID-19 in Victoria.
Accommodation Australia CEO Dean Long said the closure highlights the seriousness of the challenge in containing COVID-19.
“While the decision to shut down the Victorian-NSW border is disappointing given we were all hoping life was getting back to normal, we understand and support the decision,” he said.
Accommodation Australia represents close to 3,500 hotels across the country, some of which are being used as quarantine hotels for those returning to Australia.
The association reiterated the Victoria Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Corrections are now responsible for the management of hotels being used for isolation purposes not the individual hotel operator.
“A number of our member hotels were among the very first to come forward to state, territory and the federal governments and hand over their facilities to be used to quarantine incoming travellers,” said Long.
“This was a decision each and every one of these hotels made in the interests of the public good and in recognition of the scale of the challenge facing government, health authorities and our community.
“Our members continue to do all they can to support the various departmental and health authorities who are running this quarantine accommodation.”
NSW Premier says border closure is temporary
On Monday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian stressed the decision to close border was temporary and was made in consultation with the NSW Chief Health Officer, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews.
“The people of NSW have done an incredible job to help stop the spread of COVID-19, allowing us to open up our economy,” said Berejiklian.
“The outbreak of cases we are seeing in Victoria is putting these gains at risk.
“I do not take this step lightly, but have always said we will do what we must to protect the health and jobs of NSW residents.”
Based on health advice the NSW-VIC border will be shut from midnight tomorrow night. For information on exemptions please contact @ServiceNSW on 13 77 88 or by visiting https://t.co/tP3lUz3dXi. pic.twitter.com/9ZPNRdVilJ
— Gladys Berejiklian (@GladysB) July 6, 2020
NSW residents returning from a Melbourne hotspot are already required to go into 14 days of self-isolation.
Under the new rules, this requirement will be extended to anyone returning from Victoria and will be backed by heavy penalties and fines.
Special conditions will be in place for freight operations and other critical services, while provisions will be in place for residents of border regions, such as Albury-Wodonga.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said a hard border would be established at appropriate locations to enforce the border closure.
“The NSW Police Force is ready to step up, 400 police officers plus other agencies are preparing to enforce the closure of the NSW and Victorian border,” he said.