New South Wales residents will be allowed to travel regionally, including for holidays, from June 1, the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed.
Speaking to media on Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian confirmed that while regional areas would be able to welcome tourists – holidays would now be very different than they were prior to the pandemic.
“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,” she said.
“We want people to enjoy themselves, to feel free, but nothing we do is the same during a pandemic.”
Ms Berejiklian advised that tourists travelling around NSW would need to take extra care and plan ahead, book online and keep away from large crowds – reiterating that holidays in 2020 would be very different to what we’ve experienced before.
“Think about opportunities to enjoy the environment in a different way,“ the Premier said.
“From that date, many of our cultural institutions, our art galleries, museums, libraries, will be able to open their doors. But again, they’ll have special qualifications. It may involve having a special time to allow the most vulnerable to use the facilities, it does mean booking ahead, but making sure you leave a record if you are visiting one of places.
“We want people to enjoy the extra freedom, but it means you need to think ahead and plan ahead, and accept that nothing we did before the pandemic will be quite the same during the pandemic. Please treat the good news with caution.”
During the pandemic, NSW is just one of two states to keep borders open during the pandemic. Tasmania, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia closed their borders as an extreme measure to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus.
But Ms Berejiklian said she had no intention of turning interstate travel away.
“New South Wales is always open to welcome people from other states,” she said.
“We intend to keep our borders open. We think that’s best for New South Wales but also best for Australia.”
In addition to the relaxing of travel measures across the state, Ms Berejiklian confirmed pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes in NSW would be able to double their number of patrons within a month.
“Absolutely,” the Premier said when asked if the number would double within a month.
“That’s definitely on the cards. We’re looking forward to continuing to have those conversations with industry and the health experts but we’re also really pleased, can I say, the way in which the community has respected the restrictions.”
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has urged state and territory governments to follow the lead of NSW and reopen their borders to domestic holiday-makers when safe.
“Even if some states don’t let us travel there, we’ll invite the other states here,” Ms Berejiklian told The Daily Telegraph.
“Those states who’ve got border controls in place, assuming we’ve continued to see very low rates of transmission of COVID-19, ought to be looking at opening up their borders,” he told Nine on Tuesday.