More than 30,000 people have applied for a Victorian travel permit since the state’s ‘traffic light’ scheme was introduced on Monday, despite the application system remaining offline hours after strict new travel restrictions came into effect.
A few punters are obviously eager to enter the state – but not all of them had it easy.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the system around 2pm on Monday, saying the colour-coded system would protect Victoria against COVID-19 infections arriving from interstate hotspots.
Fines of $5,000 are on offer for those who violate the new guidelines.
Services Victoria’s online permit portal was slated to go live that afternoon. However, the system remained offline through much of the day, stressing travellers who hoped to enter the state on Monday night.
The system finally went online around 9pm, with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services issuing an apology for the delay.
Thanks for your patience.
The new Victorian travel permit system is now live. You can apply for a permit here: https://t.co/gM00X340TJ.
— VicGovDHHS (@VicGovDHHS) January 11, 2021
“I take responsibility for that,” Health Minister Foley told ABC Radio Melbourne today.
He pointed to a “complex set of legal directions” from the Victoria’s public health officials colliding with “a couple of bugs in the IT system from our friends at Services Victoria” as the cause of the delay.
Anyone who was stuffed around by the system on Monday night won’t be penalised, Foley added.
“We’ve put in place operational discretion to make sure that people caught in that 2 hours and 36 minutes aren’t disadvantaged,” he said.
The stuff-up shaded what was meant to be a pretty positive day for Victoria.
The new system saw the dissolution of Victoria’s hard border with New South Wales, which was enacted at the start of the year over fears of coronavirus transmission.
Victoria now considers regional NSW an ‘orange’ zone, meaning permit-holders travelling from the region will need to undergo a coronavirus test within 72 hours of arrival.
The greater Sydney and Brisbane areas are still considered ‘red’ zones, meaning travel from those regions into Victoria is forbidden without an exemption.
Here’s hoping the permit system doesn’t cark it when folks in those cities are allowed back into VIC.