Just a few weeks ago, the Queensland Premier was telling Sydneysiders she wants them to come to Queensland, but now they need a COVID test on arrival and need to isolate until they’re cleared, as the state tightens the border restrictions in response to the Northern Beaches cluster. The Brisbane Times is reporting Qld slaps travel restrictions back on NSW, but no hard borders yet. While it’s not a hard border yet, there’s a non-trivial chance one will be re-imposed. Many Sydneysiders may decide not to come to Queensland for Christmas holidays after all, as it’s all too much trouble and there’s too much risk they’ll suffer due to a quarantine requirement being imposed suddenly. It’s all terrible news for our tourism sector, which still isn’t back to normal (e.g. see the chart below based on the ABS payroll jobs data) and is counting on a bumper Christmas holidays season to help make up for losses earlier in the year.
Let’s hope community transmission of COVID hasn’t spread beyond Sydney’s Northern Beaches, but, given the dozens of cases in the Northern Beaches already, it may easily have got out to the rest of the metro area and may have been spreading over the last few days. A hard border with NSW again is a serious possibility. 2020 still isn’t done with us.