26 June 2021

ACT retrospectively imposes lockdown on returned Greater Sydney travellers

| Dominic Giannini
Start the conversation
Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced further restrictions for people who have recently returned from the Greater Sydney area. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

People in the ACT who visited the Greater Sydney region – which includes the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong areas – on or after 21 June will be subject to stay-at-home orders from 6:00 pm tonight (26 June) until at least midnight 9 July.

The ACT’s border restrictions will now extend to all of these regions, up from 30 local government areas across metropolitan Sydney, and non-ACT residents who have been to these locations will not be able to enter the Territory without an exemption.

However, people who have been to the Greater Sydney region and are barred from entering the ACT may transit through if they do not stop. This includes people who may be at the snow and need to transit back to Sydney.

Those subject to stay at home orders can only leave home for essential purposes, including to buy supplies, daily exercise, medical care and compassionate needs, and essential work that cannot occur at home.

READ ALSO Three Canberra data centres get government tick to host sensitive data

Anyone above the age of 12 subject to these orders must wear a mask when leaving the house unless they are participating in vigorous exercise.

People who have not been to the Greater Sydney region but are seeking to enter Canberra via Sydney Airport are allowed to transit through but are being encouraged to take precautions such as wearing a mask, washing hands and minimising interactions with others.

Transitting includes briefly leaving the airport, for example, to access a hire car.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT would act decisively if the risk of COVID-19 to Canberrans increases.

There are now more than 80 cases associated with the Bondi cluster in Sydney.

“The next period is one of heightened anxiety and concern,” Mr Barr said.

“If there is a case, we will respond, and we will respond quickly.

“We have been here before. We know what to do. Let’s do the right thing and keep each other safe.”

Restrictions have also been tightened across NSW, including household visitor limits of five people, the reintroduction of the one person per four square metre rule for businesses, and mandatory mask-wearing in all indoor non-residential settings and outdoor organised events.

COVID-19 testing has also tripled in the ACT since the start of the Sydney cluster. In the past 24 hours, around 1100 tests were conducted compared with an average of 300 to 400 a day.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said that the risk of COVID-19 remains in the ACT as the border is not entirely closed to NSW residents.

ACT Policing will be conducting spot checks at the border and Access Canberra will be working with businesses across the ACT to ensure compliance with the current check-in requirements.

NSW Police will also be conducting checks in the Greater Sydney region to stop people subject to the lockdown from leaving.

Mr Barr said the fact more than 19,000 people had filled in the ACT’s online declaration form expressing that they had been to the Greater Sydney region recently highlights the extent – and risk – of travel between the two jurisdictions.

People subject to lockdowns in NSW will have access to income support payments from the Commonwealth Government following a prior agreement struck at National Cabinet.

Mr Barr said he is working with the Commonwealth to confirm whether these payments will be extended to people in lockdown in the ACT but that he expects it would cover anyone subject to a lockdown for more than seven days.

For more information about the developing situation, and to access relevant declaration forms, visit www.covid19.act.gov.au.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.